BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The holiday spirit was in the air at Canalside Friday night. The Ice at Canalside is officially open for the season and people of all ages experienced the sights and sounds of the biggest skating rink in New York State.

“We got the holiday music playing right now. Where else would you rather be than experiencing this downtown?” Mike Sprong, business development manager for the Buffalo Waterfront, said. “They’ve [families] been laughing and giggling. It just brings great memories in a time of year that is supposed to be joyous and loving.”

Skaters from near and far descended on Downtown Buffalo to slip and slide on the ice. From ice skating to ice bikes to bumper cars and curling, people were enjoying being together to kick off the holiday season.

“The weather’s perfect and we’re having a great time. Everybody seems to be having fun. We got free hot chocolate and free popcorn,” Caryn Poland of Buffalo said.

The youngest skaters enjoyed seeing their favorite mascots take the ice including Buster Bison, Chicken Wing and Sabretooth for a bumper car race.

Earlier this week, the massive snow totals made the prospect of opening night grim. Fortunately, the temperature warm-up melted the snow away, making the ice usable Friday.

“We came here Monday morning and it was this daunting task of taking away the weekend. The warm weather helped. It helped melt the snow faster. We could really throw it on the sidewalks here and have it melt for us,” Sprong added.

The Ice at Canalside is celebrating its ninth season after opening in 2014. It’s the largest outdoor rink in the state and it brings a major boost to this section of downtown Buffalo.

“We love it down here. In the summer we come down here and do everything. We have season passes to Explore and More. We just love coming down here and all that it has to offer. And it’s great for my son,” Christine Petrillo of Kenmore said with her two-year-old son Teddy.

The rink is more than a sheet of ice. It’s a place for everyone to enjoy.

“It’s just a great time for the whole family. Just to have the kids, mom and dad and everybody come out and have a great time. It’s fun. It’s great. It’s awesome,” Jacob Deinzer of Buffalo continued.

The Ice at Canalside is open through February 26. To view public skating times, visit Buffalo Waterfront’s website.

Here’s a look at pricing:

Skating:

  • 5 and under: free
  • Children and military: $6
  • 13 and up: $8
  • Skate rental: $5

*Highmark BCBS of WNY Members receive $1 off admission, $10 off season passes, and $19 off family season passes.

Curling:

  • $15 a person
  • There is a 4-person minimum, 10-person maximum

Bumper Cars:

  • $8 for an 8-minute ride                   

Ice Bikes:

  • $12 for a half hour

Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.