“It’s still good,” said Dee Schwartz of the fun roller blading times at the Wadena roller rink with 68 years of being open, from clamp skates, people who waltzed and having daily skate nights to birthday celebrations and families teaching their children to skate.

The roller rink is tucked along Hwy 71 next to Kal’s Kars North expansion. While not everyone knows about the roller rink, the families and children who come love whirling around the rink, the spotlight disco and playing the freeze.

“I think the kids are ready to skate again now, it’s been a little over a year,” Don Schwartz said of their time being closed during the pandemic. The rink is open on Friday nights from 7:30-9:30 p.m. until June.

Dee Schwartz, left, and Don Schwartz, right, have operated the Wadena roller rink with a smile and love for kids for 68 years. The rink is open October to June for the 2021-22 season.
Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal
Dee Schwartz, left, and Don Schwartz, right, have operated the Wadena roller rink with a smile and love for kids for 68 years. The rink is open October to June for the 2021-22 season. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal

As the Schwartz family’s fifth generation of skaters make their way around the rink, children learn how to skate for the first time and watch their parents’ skills, friends race one another and couples enjoy the nostalgia. And owners Don and Dee said they don’t skate much anymore but it’s always been one of their favorite activities.

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Dee said the kids have behaved well over the years, too, because she reminds them that she and Don own the place and if the rules aren’t followed they can’t come back.

“It’s going to be really hard when we have to close because I don’t think anybody will run a roller rink,” Dee said.

Taven McManigle, left, and Taliah McManigle, right, share a high five as they skate around the Wadena roller rink on Oct. 1, 2021.
Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal
Taven McManigle, left, and Taliah McManigle, right, share a high five as they skate around the Wadena roller rink on Oct. 1, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell / Pioneer Journal

The kids and their love of skating keeps the roller rink open.

“We don’t want to close because somebody told us to, we want to close when we’re ready to close. We probably should be ready, he’s 85 and I’m 82,” Dee said with a smile. “There’s so many kids that love to skate.”

You can take in your night of skating fun for $3.50. Skates are included in the cost or you can bring your own. If you’re interested in scheduling a private party or event, call the Schwartzes at 218-631-3887.