Maple City Feis 2015 Review

maplecityThe Inaugural Maple City Feis was held on February 21st, 2015 at the John D. Bradley Convention Center in Chatham, Ontario, Canada, and was hosted by the Cornell School.

Any feis can have its positives and negatives, and this feis is no different. Not going to pull any punches on the lows, considering this was the first one, or restrain myself on the highs. I mean if I can ding the feis that I was part of, why would I be any different for anyone else 😉

I do think the hand made chocolates in the shape of a maple leaf given to each dancer was a nice touch, especially if the dancer has nut allergies and does not eat anything where we can’t read the label, do she gave it to her Dad. It was delish by the way 😉


Our initial reaction to this ‘convention center’ was “wow, that’s small.” Might be the fact we are used to places like the IX Center at North Coast, but considering our initial thoughts, I thought this was a pretty good venue. In general, it was of adequate size for the number of competitors that attended, but I thought they could have used the space a little better.

As soon as you walked in, to the right were a number of long tables down one wall, adequate for eating, but really not much else. These took up a great deal of space, were not necessarily located close enough to any stage to see, and ended up being camping so when it was time to eat, seating for eating was hard to come by.

Temperature wise, I thought it was comfortable considering the meh weather outside. There only seemed to be one restroom per gender, but that did not seem to be an issue considering the attendance, and the venue was small enough where they were fairly convenient.

There were two larger rooms off one end of the venue. One served as the Open Champs stage area, and the other held the Champs award area with a podium, the grades awards table, and a section set aside for used dress sales.

The Awards/Dress room was fine, the Open Champ room was a claustrophobes nightmare. The stage was huge and marley covered, raised well above the spectators, then came the judge area, a bit lower but still raised, and then the spectator seating. As always, it seemed that people took as many chairs as their luggage needed, leaving lots of people standing, blocking walkways, etc… At one point, they were three deep at the entrance to the room, making entry and exit nearly impossible. IMHO, they could have taken out a third of the chairs, which, if nothing else, would have made more standing and travel room.

Stages and Seating

There were six stages in all. Stage 6, the Open Champ stage, as mentioned above, was huge, with too much seating, which was a stark contrast to the remaining stages which were, considering the size of the venue, to small, and there was NO SEATING SET UP FOR SPECTATORS!

Stages 1 & 2, and 3 & 4 were combined, with a single musician each (at least the stage I saw, but it only makes sense considering the way they were set up that the other was the same). These stages were set so they were back-to-back, and the best I can tell they were individually about 20ish x 16ish feet each. Thing is, if you line a big comp of dancers up on each one, who, because they are back-to-back, are standing on the stage, and dance two or three dancers at a time, things start getting tight really quickly.

Stage 1 & 2 was covered with what looked like gray (or grey depending on your country) marley, and was used later as a single stage for PC set dances, which was an adequate size for that purpose. Stages 3 & 4 were just plywood, and still to small, but I digress.

Stage 5 was the PC stage, was marley covered, and appeared to be about 24 x 32. Good size.

The feis volunteers seemed to be on top of stage maintenance, and I did not see any slips or falls during the day.

Recommendation: I think there was enough room in the venue to separate the stages so none were joined, which would have reduced stage congestion since dancers would be able to line up behind, instead of on, the stage.

Recommendation: Chairs, get chairs, and put them out for the spectators, not just around the tables and in the OC room.

Oh, and did I mention chairs would be a nice addition?


Camping was probably adequate, but an area was not marked off, so it tended to spread out and spill over into the ‘walkways.’ Combine that with people standing to view the dancing, and the people who set up their camp chairs closer to the stages, it made it difficult to get around.


I cannot speak to the grades level judging, other than the fact there was one on each stage. How often or if they rotated I do not know, but I did hear one comment that one dancer had danced for the same judge for all her dances.

There were three judges on each the PC and OC stages, whom seemed attentive.


As mentioned, the ‘combined’ stages shared a musician, and the champ stages (5 and 6) each had their own musician. If you were standing near the center of the venue, there was a lot of musical confusion, but it decreased nearer the stages.

I did hear one musical negative, and that was regarding the keyboard player. He seemed to start each of the pieces in a less traditional way. One sounded to me like the start of a 50’s rock and roll song, and I heard a similar comment from another spectator. I really didn’t put to much thought into that until I heard dancers saying that it was hard to get a good count with the way he started the songs.


Convention center food, pizza, wraps, salads, fried stuffs, drinks etc… which was not super expensive. I shared a wrap with TGC that was pretty good. The pizza looked good and the slices were large, so no complaints. There were two concession stands set up and there really never seemed to be an obnoxious line.

Well, there was one complaint, I did not find out till late in the day I missed an opportunity to have poutine. THAT won’t happen again.


Only a few, and not all dance related. You could probably get any necessities for dance, but compared to other feiseanna I attend, the vendor pickings were a bit sparse.

SIDE NOTE: They did have Cadbury, but no Smarties 🙁

Feis Flow

I am torn here…. lunch break was set to end at 12:30, and close to 1:00 our stage had not resumed while others already had. When you have been STANDING AROUND (yes, that is a no chairs remark) for hours, it starts to wear on both the dancers and the spectators.

That being said however, when they got started, they were through the hard and soft shoe rounds, and the set for a ‘larger’ comp in just about an hour. Makes you wonder where the disconnect on getting lunch done on time if the morning had run the same way.

Awards and Results


Results for grades were posted along one wall near all the tables. I liked the fact that they posted just competitor numbers and no names, but the size of the font was a bit hard to read and could have been much larger considering the limited info on each results sheet.

For champ results, I am used to waiting at least 60 minutes, and most often about 90 to get results, so I was VERY IMPRESSED that results were ready in about 30 minutes for TGCs comp.


There were medals in the shape of the feis logo which I thought was cool.

Each of the ‘placers’ got a small momentum that looked like a nice glass statue, but on further  investigation, were just plastic and felt a little cheap.

Champs had sashes for top 3, and some other chotchkies. Didn’t get a close enough look at them. The 1st place dancer recieved a bottle of maple syrup in a maple leaf shaped bottle. Very cool touch.

Misc/Social Media

No real social media effort that I saw, but ONE OF THE BEST FEIS WEBSITES I HAVE SEEN. Parallax scrolling, very geeky and appreciated by those of us who notice stuff like that 😉

Maple City Feis Overall Score – 6.75

I really think this feis has potential. A number of the ‘cons’ I think could be easily corrected. I know it was the first one, so I am interested to see where it goes in the future.

What Did You Think?

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Feis An Fhomhair 2014 Review

gargoyleleftThe Feis An Fhomhair, hosted by the Irwin School of Irish Dancing, was held on October 10-12, 2014 in Calgary, Alberta.


The Feis An Fhomhair takes place at the Hyatt Regency Calgary, in the heart of downtown.  Guest rooms are wonderful, service staff is attentive and friendly, and the special “feis rate” brings the cost down to a manageable level for families.  The Hyatt has underground parking (with a special rate for feis attendees.)  I did not notice other downtown parking near the hotel.

Stages were set up in the large meeting rooms on the 3rd floor.  A/B and C/D were in the larger room, and E/F was in the smaller space immediately adjoining. My dancer reports that the stages here are wonderful for dancing, each year.  They seem adequately spacious.  There was plenty of seating for observers.

Vendors were set up in large hallway outside of competition rooms.  A nearby room had solo dresses for sale ($5 charge to hang you dress,)  results on the wall, and the table where the professional photographer sold his shots of your dancer.  Farther down the hallway was a dance practice room.

Feis Flow

The schedule called for FIGURES and ADULT competitions on Friday night.   PRELIM and OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS on Saturday.  FIRST FEIS to PRIZEWINNER competitions on Saturday.

Feis administrators, announcers, and stage monitors in general did a fine job communicating to dancers when to check in.  (the announcer on E/F Sunday does need instruction on using a microphone.) They seemed very focused on not having downtime. My one criticism of getting dancers checked in early was on Sunday a.m. : competitions started with First Feis dancers.  These dancers were checked in and sitting side-stage for 10 minutes waiting for judges and musicians to arrive.

Judges & Musicians

There was an adequate number of judges, who rotated stages regularly.  Musicians were very capable.  Each stage had a fiddle and an accordion.  There was a little bit of sound interference from one room to the other.


Feis An Fhomhair draws many vendors, who set up near the competition rooms.  Dance shoes, Solo dresses, tiatraas and buckles and jewelry, snacks, shirts and jackets and bags (including Zuca bags,) were all available.  The School also hired professional photographers who sold pix of dancers on stage.  (Not sure how distracting it is to dancers to have the photographers snapping shots as they compete.)


Besides the vendor selling snacks, the Hyatt Regency has  a coffee and baked goods shop in the lobby that also sells snacks and bottled drinks, as well as two restaurants.  I’m not aware of restrictions on bringing outside food into the feis;  some folks did.


Results were posted in a room just down the hall from the competition rooms.  It didn’t take too long for the results to be posted.  I especially appreciate that at Feis An Fhomhair, a paper copy of each dancer’s results is included in the cost of registration, and can be picked up after a dancer completes her/his dances.

Things to do around the Feis

Beyond the feis, downtown Calgary also has its attractions.  The Calgary Tower is just a block from the Hyatt, and Chinatown with its many restaurants is only a four-block walk.  The Calgary Zoo is highly regarded, and you can take the train (that stops at the Hyatt) straight there.  Numerous shops and restaurants are within easy walking distance of the Hyatt Regency, including a McDonald’s.

 Did you attend? What did you think?

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Rose City Feis Review 2014, Grades Level

RSCLOGOThe 19th Annual Rose City Feis was held August 16th, 2014 at the St. Clair College Sportplex in Windsor, Ont.

This was our first trip to a feis in Canada and we loved it. Everyone was very welcoming and made it a great out of region trip for our dancer – we’ll call her Alice. We were the only ones from our school and each one of us made friends from either the Midwest or Eastern Canada regions.

We did the Feis as a double Feis with Great Lake Feis. Now that Great Lakes is moving to July, we would pick Rose City if we were able to travel back to the area next summer.

I will be focused on the Grades (Novice and Prizewinner).


Before any specifics, the Venue itself needs some compliments. The Sportsplex is brand new. We stayed at the Waterfront Hotel and toured around Windsor Friday and Saturday evenings. Locals seemed excited to see us using the Sportplex for our competition. It lived up to everything they and the website advertised. The only problem we had was wishing we had printed out the driving directions. Not wanting to use International minutes on our smartphone, we hunted a while once we turned onto the St. Clair campus. Americans, print out the directions to the building – not just the campus.

Stages and Seating

Stages were a little slippery. Each stage had a tub with a wet towel. Lots of dancers that took advantage of it. Alice didn’t have any trouble but we saw some other dancers slip.

Downstairs was a little crowded but there were seats overlooking the stages. Our Feis Dad does not enjoy crowds. He enjoyed watching from above. I was able to leave Zuca, dress bag and everything else upstairs. Just carrying shoes and water made the crowds easy to navigate. There was always room stage side to see Alice compete.

Stage Monitors worked very well together. Lots of negotiating when dancers were split between stages. A stage would stop to wait on dancers every so often but Alice was still done with everything but Traditional Set before lunch. The Stage Monitor Teams made this work. It could have stacked up but everyone kept things moving. Not overly rushed but moving. We enjoyed seeing “Lunch” move up the board along with dances. Easy to see the lunch break coming on each stage. Nicely done!!

Camping and Access

We camped upstairs. There were camping areas downstairs too. Seemed to be plenty of room for everyone.

Everyone made room for anyone wanted to move in to watch a dance on our stages. Everyone was very polite, friendly and well mannered. Canadians know how to do Southern Hospitality.

Awards and Results

Coming from out of region, the medals were awesome. They were smallish but solid. Felt like a real medal. You could do some damage swinging it at someone. Alice has received little plastic medals before – this was a medal nirvana for her. Medals were engraved with no stickers. Very nice. I was told all Canadian medals are like this. Other regions should take note.

Results posted quickly. Alice’s Novice competitions were small so only the first 3 or 4 places were posted. There were ties so lots of medals to go around.

The times for the Traditional Set & Reel Trophy Specials were on a small easel near the entrance. During lunch break some of the families missed seeing it and were not present for awards. We almost missed it but another dancer told Alice it was time to go outside. The small easel got lost in the crowd flow going between food and checking results upstairs. I don’t think there was a 2nd times posting upstairs with the other results – that might help.


Rose City Feis had more opportunities in the Art Competitions that most competitions that include the Arts. You were able to enter the Art Competition separate from the dancing so there were opportunities for Parents, Siblings and anyone else to enter.

Tir na Nog was offered for U6. This was adorable to watch. There was no entry fee. I’ve seen First Feis offered before but this was even cuter. The older girls in the chairs had the biggest smiles watching these little dancers. The judge and stage monitor presented each little dancer with a stuffed animal after they all danced a short Reel.

Novice and Prizewinners were offered a Traditional Set and Reel Trophy Special. The awards were handled same as champs on the podium outside. This is competition practice for Novice and Prizewinner dancers in the Eastern Canada Region. The girls even made sure Alice knew when it was time to go out for the awards. They take it just as seriously as the Prelim and Champs.


Lots of parking. It was the weekend and the building is on the edge of campus. No parking fees.


Judges rotated throughout the day. One judge rotated with our dancers as they changed stages. On just one stage, Alice was judged by 4 different judges. I like the idea of rotating the judges instead of the dancers. Nice not to have to run back and forth between every dance. Fair amount of comments from each judge too.


Our main stage shared a musician with another stage. He had his speaker turned a little low for softshoe. Alice had a hard time hearing her Slip Jig music. Evidently the judge did too since she was not marked down for getting off time. The champs stage bled into ours occasionally. The musician turned up the speaker for hardshoe so it wasn’t a problem once they switched shoes.


We did not get food from the venue. I did see Aero Bars as a choice. That was a nice touch. We were full from our hotel breakfast and dinner in Winsor the night before. I’m glad we waiting until after the feis to try Poutine. Not sure Alice would have had any lift had we had it before the competition. No it was not sold at the venue (or if it was I didn’t see anyone with it.)


Alice was a little disappointed there was not a t-shirt vendor. We were told that was typical of Eastern Canada competitions. She wears her feis t-shirts to school and dance. She wanted to have one to show she competed in Canada over the summer. We did enjoy shopping with Gold and Shamrock. Alice finally got to see a pair of Ryan & O’Donnell Diamond Gel Pumps. (Maybe I should have called her Dorothy instead.) One Christmas (or Oireachtas) gift purchased. We purchased some candies that we haven’t seen in our region. Some of the in-region parents said there were not a lot of vendor selection. It was a different selection for us so we really enjoyed it.

Feis Flow

There were some stops due to ages and levels split between stages. It seemed to be mainly when an age group was merged. The stage monitors worked together to work out stage conflicts and minimize changing shoes. We watched one stage monitor fetch the last competitor from the other stage for Alice’s Reel. Having seen this happen in other regions before, it was handled really well by the Rose City stage monitors.


Scoring seemed reasonable and fair to us. Curiously Alice scored better than some of her recent competitions in our region. She danced better too so it was nice to see her work rewarded.

Post Feis

Downtown Windsor was hosting Ballonapalooza on Saturday and Sunday. We recommend staying downtown and walking around to check out all the large balloons. Alice even found a Cheshire Cat. You can find photos of the Balloons on their website. A nice way to unwind after the competition. Once we were tired of exploring, we found a park bench along the Detroit River and enjoyed our burgers and poutine. Dessert was some of the chocolate from Gold and Shamrock.

We hope to make it back and recommend this competition to anyone who is up near Windsor in August.

What Did You Guys Think Eh?

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St. Catharine’s Feis 2013

The 2013 St. Catharines Feis was held on July 27th, 2013 in St. Catharine’s Ontario, Canada. This review is another linked in from Confessions of a Feis Mom’s Blog by WTF friend MaryMac962. You can read the review here.

If you would like to help review feiseanna in your area, please let me know!

*NOTE: We don’t duplicate another sites content for ethical reasons mainly, but it is also bad for search engine rankings, which is why we are doing this link thing 🙂