Feis Na Cara, hosted by the McDade-Cara school was on Sunday, January 11th, 2015 at the Marple Sports Complex in Broomall, PA. This is a new location for this feis (formerly held at the Sportsplex in Feasterville, PA). The 2015 venue is familiar to the McDade-Cara school as this is the location for the Four Provinces Feis held in April. The start time for the feis was 8:45 am. This was our 3rd time attending Feis Na Cara, but the first time on the Champs stages.
The venue is similar to the former venue- an indoor hockey rink. The parking was ample but most of it was on the street. Parking was not allowed at nearby businesses. The area is hilly so there was some uphill walking for folks! Plus, a very cold morning made a ½ mile walk seem very far!! But, it’s January right? A map of the stages/vendors/etc was provided by the Feis Committee via Facebook and Twitter. I found this very helpful to prepare myself and my child for the location where we needed to be. The fit inside the venue was tight. I really think the committee did a great job attempting to spread things out in general. However, because a hockey rink only has one or two “doors” to exit from, it’s difficult to have a good flow of traffic. The cap for this feis is 1000 and it met its cap so there were many people there!
A feis rate of 89.00 for a king and 99.00 for a queen was offered to guests choosing to stay at the Radnor Hotel. This hotel is less than 5 miles from the venue and is located in a nice area, It has a close proximity to restaurants and shopping should you have extra time on your hands.
Stages and Seating
One rink hosted grades stages (4 of them) and the other rink hosted 3 stages for Champs. There is no formal seating but camping was allowed and many patrons brought in their own chairs. The stage size was ample for champs. Younger dancers danced 3 at a time and I didn’t see an issue with this. Older dancers dances two at a time. This information was also outlined in the syllabus. The stage itself was not raised and dancers competed on sport court flooring. Black tape ( I think it was tape?) covered the stages to prevent slipping. I did not see any slips or falls or hear complaints about this. These type of floors are designed for use with multiple sports thus it’s not known for being slippery. For what there is to work with, I thought the stages (5,6,and 7) functioned as they should. The only “problem” I had was that the sound for hard shoe was not as crisp as it would be on a wooden floor. This was the only fault I could find with the stages.
Dancers danced for the same three judges in hard and soft shoe, which I believe is typical. Only one judge left a comment for my dancer and for only one of the rounds.
Each stage had their own set of musicians. The sound was ample and the dancers didn’t seem to have trouble hearing their music.
Coolers were not allowed at the feis, in fact upon entering the ice rink, you saw a person holding a sign saying “No outside food or drink”. They were serious! Vending machines for drinks were available, along with a bake sale, candy sale, and fresh fruit. Also, the ice rink has their own concession area with typical fare. We didn’t purchase food from that area, only a drink and candy bar.
Fayes was set up in the area of the champs stages. The Embroidery Girl and Head for the World were set up in the grades area.
The area in the champs room/rink wasn’t overly crowded. It was full, but everyone seemed to fit. The area by the exit “door” (remember it’s an ice hockey rink) was packed and the flow in and out usually had a backup. The one way in one way out was the only fault I had with the camping area/stage area) It will be interesting to see the score from someone reviewing grades- that stage area seemed more crowded.
Close to the dancing area. We never had to wait to use the restroom. They were kept clean.
Overall the stages moved at a good pace after a slight delay starting on time. When we arrived, the first Comp on our stage was just starting. That comp (according to the stage schedule) should have started at 9am– but it’s actual start time was 9:45 am. The last group finished at 5:01 pm (according to Feis Web).
Awards and Results
We are new to the champ awards so I cannot tell you if this is normal, good or bad. But I will tell you how it worked and you can decide. A separate area was designated for awards. This room (I think it was the sales shop/skate sales area) was well marked and very close the champs area. The room was small though. This led to an extremely warm, Ok, it was hot in there! But you can imagine that due to healthy competition sizes (remember the cap is 1000) and parents watching will make an area over crowded. Outside the room the comps were listed on a large poster board and the award time was written in giving dancers and family members ample warning. The amount of time that elapsed between my dancer finishing the second rounds and the start of awards was about an hour. I do not know if this is typical or not and the hour wait didn’t bother me. Now onto the awards. Round awards were given (top half of dancers)- the hard shoe round placers received a hot cocoa/candy cane/ marshmallow packet in a styrofoam cup. The soft shoe round winners got a tube of chapstick. I thought these were cute, clever and functional! Best of all, EACH overall placers received a sash. That was a huge hit! Overall placers also got a trophy for their efforts. The room was hot but the awards made up for that. Maybe a fan next time to circulate the air?
The Feis had a table with raffle baskets (one had the newest American Girl Doll- HUGE hit!) , they held a charity treble reel (side stage registration available) and used social media (Facebook and Twitter) to its fullest. Volunteers were friendly and helpful. They also organized a canned food drive to benefit the Nelson County Food Pantry in Lovingston VA.
Feis Na Cara Overall Score- 8
The traffic in and out of the stage area (aka rinks) and maneuvering around sometimes got tricky. The awards room was stuffy and the vendors were spread out so if you were not competing in one area you might have missed out on visiting a vendor. The volunteers were friendly and helpful, communication before and during the feis was satisfactory, and the location and hotel’s location was in a safe area. Stages moved swiftly and results were announced within one hour of completed competition. I like this feis and we have happily attended for the last 3 years. It will continue to be a feis we attend.
Please comment if you disagree with something I wrote. This will help me learn more about the expectations of feis goers as it pertains to the champ level and also to overall feis expectations.
What Did You Think?
What did you think of the Feis Na Cara 2015, Champs Level (On a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being lowest)?
- 10 (25%, 1 Votes)
- 8 (25%, 1 Votes)
- 7 (25%, 1 Votes)
- 5 (25%, 1 Votes)
- 9 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 6 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 4 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 3 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 1 (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 4
We are not new to Champs awards and found the location of the champs stage horrible. The sashes for all placers and the round awards were nice touches and the presenter tried her best, but it was far from ideal. It was a fire hazard. The feis held in the same location in May usually holds the champ awards outside and now I understand why. (Another bonus to the overall feis location was the jungle gym / maze for the younger kids, a huge hit with my little ones.)
We — and other families — found the judging very erratic, which is not uncommon but still disappointing. The lack of comments on the score sheet was also very disappointing.
Overall, I agree with the comments from the original poster!