Celtic Fling and Irish Feis 2005

First, let me say that I will never attend an outdoor feis in the summer again if I can help it.  I mean it.  Honestly.  Brighid was so hot and drenched in sweat, and we took the whole family out because it was going to be a great day to wander about, enjoy the Celtic entertainment, and have a grand old time, so the lot of us looked like wet dishrags after the first couple of hours.

The feis was a little tough to manage for me.  She had four dances on four different stages, so I had to keep bouncing back among the stages to see where we were in the rotation.  I HATE it when feisanna directors schedule breaks for the adjudicators and musicians for lunch, but don’t announce it ahead of time.  At one point, there was only one competition up before Brighid’s, so we got her all dressed and zipped up, only to find out that there would be a 20 minute delay so the judges and musicians could have a break.  Although there was not  a lot of distance between the stages, theoretically speaking, it should have been easier to get back and forth.  But at the high point during the day, it was crowded, people had blankets spread everywhere and chairs all over, kids were running wild without adult supervision, and you nearly risked life and limb to get from one stage to the next.

And let me give you the true low-lights.  We had gotten a ton of emails from these people once we registered for this feis.  A few of the emails alluded to the fact that the feis would be crowded, registration would be a lengthy process, and if you could not get to the hotel the night before, it encouraged you to get to the fair grounds early.  Additionally, you could get  a discounted ticket to the Celtic fling if you paid admission to the feis before 10 AM.  We arrived at 9, walked right up to the registration desk, picked up Brighid’s competitor number, and then found out the fling didn’t open until 11 AM.  Brighid didn’t start dancing until after 12, so we ended up sitting around from 9 AM until the hottest part of the afternoon with NOTHING to do.  Did I say we had the whole family with us – except for the baby?   Did I say that included Eilis, the four year old?   Did I say there was NOTHING to do for 3 hours?   Are you piecing this together?   By the time the fling opened, Eilis was already soaked with sweat and tired of waiting.  Then they got into the fling only to find out that some of the stuff she remembered from the Renaissance Faire last summer was not open, and some of the other things she needed someone bigger to go with her, and Brighid couldn’t go because she was dancing.  So, they wandered around the fling for a while, but then came back to wait for Brighid.  By the time Brighid was done (just before 3), everyone was really too tired to go back through the fling.  But, since Brighid hadn’t gotten to do anything, we spent another hour wandering around in the heat.  The girls road an elephant, who looked about as happy to be there as we were by that point, and then we pretty much dragged ourselves back to the car.

It seemed painfully slow to get scores – but again, it was so hot and we were so tired by the time Brighid actually danced, everything seemed to take forever.  In the feis area, there was only one food vendor, and the line to get a bottle of soda or water at mid-day was pretty long.  And Brighid was disappointed that she only got medals and not trophies.  She placed in three of her dances (a second, third and fourth), but she needed a first second or third in the two soft shoe dances, and she didn’t get that.

All in all, this is not an experience we wish to repeat.  I kept thinking the whole day how very sad it was for the kids in these thousand dollar dresses that they were sweating their fake tans all over them.  Ugh!