Corabelle has done a few grades reviews for us and I am sad to report she will no longer be doing them, BECAUSE HER GC MOVED UP TO PC!!! CONGRATS CC’s GC! Looking forward to your PC reviews!
Feis Culkin was held on Sunday, November 2, 2014 beginning at 8:30 am. The feis is held at the Maryland Discovery Sports Center in Boyds, Maryland. Boyds is located about 30 miles northwest of DC. For those traveling and in need of a hotel, towns to stay in include Germantown, Gaithersburg and Fredericksburg. This year the feis fell the day after Daylight Savings Time ended and I think the dancers and parents were happy for an extra hour of sleep (or getting ready!) before a feis
The Discovery Center is a huge indoor sporting complex nestled in a park with at least 20 soccer fields. Due to soccer games going on, parking can be somewhat challenging but not to worry, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a space if you don’t mind a short walk. The venue itself is huge with plenty of room to accommodate 7 stages,one practice stage, approximately 8 vendor tables, and an awards area. Plus there is plenty of camping space (bring your chairs!). The restrooms were plentiful and close enough to the stages. There were signs indicating where additional restroom were. A large area for dresses is reserved and seems to be a popular feis to sell a dress at.
Stages and Seating
Grades danced on stages 4-7. The stages were smaller is size but the folks at Culkin had dancers dancing 2 at a time so there was no issue of overcrowding on the stage. The stages were not slippery and offered a nice spring. There is SRO (standing room only) for spectators.
Dancers in grades rotated throughout all 4 stages and so it was possible for them to be judged by each of the adjudicators. They seemed happy to be there and attentive.
Each stage had their own musician but due to the close proximity of the stages, the music sometimes could not be heard at the optimal decibel. Most dancers didn’t seem troubled by this but it was something they talked about.
Food was available in 2 areas of the venue. The first is the indoor concession stand. The lines were long as most stages broke for lunch around the same time.. The outdoor food stand, most likely meant for the soccer game at the adjacent field was bombarded with hungry feis goers and couldn’t keep up. People waited in line for a long time and once they ordered and paid for their food, they waited up to 20 minutes for it to be cooked. They could fix this issue by cooking the burgers, chicken and any other grilled food ahead of time and keeping them in a warming tray.
Prices were average and the portions were hearty. The burgers tasted delicious but the long wait left many people unhappy. According to the outdoor menu board, additional offerings included mac and cheese, collard greens, hush puppies, Jambalaya, fried catfish and quesadilla. Inside carrots and fruit were sold along with sno-cones. No coolers or outside food was allowed and purchased food could only be eaten in designated areas away from the floor.
Score 4 – More efficient service and better preparedness next year and the score easily jumps to an 8.
Nice variety and plenty of room for them to set up.Vendors were: Fayes, Feis Fayre, Head for the World, Ishop Irish, Fireball designs, Celtic Treasures and newcomer Glam Stand (hair and makeup).
Score 9 – Before Oireachtas it would be nice to see Rutherford shoes there.
As mentioned earlier there were plenty of camping spots. The day was sunny but cold and windy. If nice outside, there are areas to sit as well.
The feis began at 8:30 with figures. With Oireachtas coming up, there were a lot of teams competing which pushed the start time for solos later than “usual”. While it made for a long day for some, I don’t think there are many changes that could be made and so that won’t affect my scoring. Though stages had their own musicians the flow was efficient with grades stages rarely being held up. The comps were projected onto the wall and this made knowing where you needed to be very easy. This (efficient) system is appreciated by parents and dancers.
Results and Awards
The results were computed by Feisweb and as usual the waiting time for results was very short! Placements were given to the competitors in the top 45-50% of their group. Medals were awarded for Beginner/Ad Beginner and Novice while PW received trophies for first-third place. Quality of the medals and trophies is good. Hersey bars were given (along with trophies) for charity treble reel winners.
Twitter handle @Feis Culkin 2014, Instagram @feisculkin and a Facebook page demonstrates their proficiency of utilizing social media. Pictures and scores were posted all day long. Prior to the event, the feis committee used social media to keep everyone up to speed with the release of stage schedule, comp splits, etc.
The Feis capped by 2pm on the day it opened which tells you it is well attended and popular. We have attended this feis before and will continue to. It’s a good prep for those preparing for Oireachtas and it’s a well run feis. Yes, the day was long for some but that can be overlooked by so many positive areas. I hope that the food issue improves next year but that is the only area I can be critical of.
A final thank you to the volunteers who work hard and devote countless hours of their time to put on an event of this size and quality.