by Andrew Hinkel, correspondent
Every year, once the weather has turned colder for good and the snow has begun powdering the streets of Chicago, Millennium Park freezes over its ice rink and opens it for the thousands of people who share a passion for skating. This is the 16th season of Chicago skating, a popular activity for many Chicagoans and tourists that attracts over 100,000 people on an annual basis.
This year, according to the city of Chicago , McCormick Tribune Ice Rink is scheduled to open Nov. 18, if the weather is cold enough by that date. The weather has been unusually nice for this time of the year, but that could change quickly, as many local Chicagoans know all too well.
“The first time I went was on a weekend night,” said Jenna Bingham, sophomore children’s ministry major at Moody. “The crowds were insane, especially if you had to get in line for the skates … But then I also back on a week day (when) it was less crowded and it was more fun.”
According to Bingham, skating in Millennium Park is a shared experience in a friendly environment, even among strangers who were also “all kind of fumbling around.”
“If someone else fell there was usually an ‘Oh, I’m sorry!’ and then people helped others get right back up on the skates,” Bingham said. “Everybody’s kind of in the Christmas spirit, so that helps.”
Bingham said that skating at Millennium Park is something she’s always been fond of and looks forward to year after year. “It’s definitely fun, especially if you go with friends and it’s a good experience,” she said. “Everybody should do it at least once.”
Skating is free if you bring your own skates; otherwise, there’s a $12 fee and typically at least an hour of waiting in line. The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink is located in Millennium Park, and the rink will be open until March 5, 2017.