Portland's Deering Oaks Park holds a very special place in my heart.

My family would go every year to the winter carnival they used to have in the early 90's. My wife and I had our wedding photos shot on the walking bridge. And I have certainly spent my fair share of time at the Portland Farmer's Market. It's a wonderful park that compliments the city nicely.

One of the major "rites of passage" to winter in Portland is when ice skating season in the park truly begins, especially when the lights come out.

Fortunately for Portlanders and beyond, the lights are now officially on at the Deering Oaks Pond.

According to the Portland Maine Parks, Facilities & Recreation Department's Facebook Page, night skating is officially on for the rest of the winter, conditions permitting.

Deering Oaks is one of five Portland ice sheets the town manages. The others being Payson Park, Riverside Golf Course, Ludlow Park, and Capisic Park. The Parks Department constantly updates the status of the ice condition of those parks, so folks know what to expect.

While, there's great night ice skating already available at Thompson's Point, Deering Oaks can boast free admission, and much more open space. Plus, its pond skating, opposed to the the rink-style you find at Thompson's Point.

Deering Oaks Park will remain open for skating for as long as conditions allow. The lights stay on until 10pm nightly. For more information and updates, you can visit the Portland Maine Parks, Facilities & Recreation Department's Facebook page.

Happy skating.

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