Okay, the good things:
The facility was very large, so there was plenty of room for folding chairs and people. Brighid’s dances didn’t begin until 12:30, according to the stage schedule, so we didn’t have to leave the house until later. That gave us plenty of time to get up to the Expo, which was very nice. There seemed to be plenty of vendors, and most of them were selling different things so there wasn’t a lot of looking at repeat stuff. The stage area seemed very large and there was plenty of room for the kids to dance. The facility really lends itself for warm-ups and practice, as there was a lot of space – I don’t know if that was true earlier in the day, but it certainly was when we got there. Brighid danced 4 dances, all on the same stage, all back to back. That worked out pretty well. There was a food counter at the far end of the facility, and a few tables outside of it. That kept most people down that end to eat, so I didn’t see too many people walking around with drippy pizza or anything that could damage some of the beautiful dresses. Peter Smith has the best trophies! Brighid got a second and a third, and the trophies were tall and impressive – and that’s a nice prize to give to a kid who has worked hard to compete.
Okay, the bad things:
I know the stage schedule is really just an estimate. I have been to enough feisanna to know that everyone refers to the time estimate as “Irish Time”, and if you are told you will begin dancing at 12:30, you will not begin dancing at 12:30 unless God himself appears in the room holding a huge alarm clock, damning people to hell if they don’t start on time. Brighid actually started closer to 1:30 – maybe a bit later – and by the time she finished, it was close to 3. The facility was supposed to be air conditioned, so I wore jeans and a golf shirt. I was roasting. I know I didn’t feel well from having spent the whole day before out in the hot sun, but even Eilis’ face was red from heat. It just didn’t feel that cool to me. We were at the tail end of the feis when we picked up Brighid’s trophies, but they did that a bit dumb, I thought. There were different people giving out trophies based on the place you were in, so you had to see one person to get your third place trophy, another to get your second place trophy, and if you won first, you had to go to yet another person. I cannot imagine how that worked if the line was long – you were forcing people to wait in multiple lines, rather than just having one person awarding the trophies for whatever place you were in. Another thing – the lines for marks were horrendously long and barely moved. We ended up skipping it and heading for the mail order line. Because the food was run by the facility, you could not bring in coolers with food or drinks, AND a can of soda purchased there was $1.50 – water $2.00 a bottle. They were theme park prices. I didn’t go to the food counter, but I did see pizza and sandwiches (like burgers). We had pretzels, since we ate breakfast in the car on the way up, and the pretzels were $2.00 each.
Overall, based on the dance experience, it was a good feis. Brighid enjoyed herself, and I was glad to have everything run so close together without having to move from stage to stage, especially since I had Eilis in tow 🙂