King O Sullivan Winterfeis was held January 26-27, 2018 at the Marriot Evergreen Resort within Stone Mountain Park, Georgia. Instrumental music and vocal competitions were held Friday evening. Grades, championships, figures, specials, art, and baking competitions were held Saturday. New this year were the additional Second Chance competitions for Novice, Prizewinner, and Championship dancers. This feis is the traditional start of the new feis season for Atlanta area dancers. Sadly, due largely to the severe flu going around, attendance was lower than usual.
VENUE: 8 out of 10
The venue is a hit with families. Heated indoor and outdoor pools, giant chess/checker boards, fitness center, coffee shop, many guest rooms with balconies, access to all of the Stone Mountain Park grounds, and a large wing of the building for events. Bathrooms are stripped of regular resort frills on the day of the feis. They were kept clean and stocked. But, they did get crowded. 2 of the 3 ballrooms had plenty of the space and seating. 1 was a cramped sardine can of a room, with dancers waiting in the hallway to line up. This caused confusion and delay, shown in the smaller room running behind schedule of the larger rooms. We have also heard that this confusion caused problems for dancers. 2 dancers, which we know of, were put on stage by the stage managers for the wrong competition. Both found out later that they had been disqualified. Either by the judge or by tabulations. We only heard about that happening in the smaller room. Stages were all raised, which made viewing easier. Especially from the back of the sardine can.
PARKING: 10 out of 10
Why so high? The feis committee took care of the usual park entry fee. A total savings of $15 per car, provided they remembered to tell the attendant on duty that they were there for the feis. Also, parking was a breeze for us. There was plenty of covered drive for unloading and loading. Finding a parking space was also not a problem for my darling Ash. We did arrive on Friday evening and left Saturday afternoon.
FEIS FOOD: 6 out of 10
The resort had a snack food and coffee station set up in the event wing of the hotel. The java was better in the lobby café, according Ash Wilkes. As his feis coffee is my usual barometer for the feis food, the score reflects his opinion. Of course, we appreciated having options. It is just nicer to have better ones. The food selection was limited and expensive. Of course, those in the know could walk over to Ms. Sam in the vendor room.
FEIS FLOW: 9 out of 10
Why so high? The grades were finished, with treble reels danced, before the lunch break. Why not 10 out of 10? The one point deduction is for those families whose dancers were disqualified for stage manager errors. A little more care and a little less haste could have prevented these unfortunate circumstances. All in all, this feis ran like a well-oiled machine. Schedules were adhered to and stages were kept moving. The side stage boards were easy to see and to follow.
MUSIC: 10 out of 10
Accordions! Blessed accordions! Oh, how sweet it was to hear your wonderful music in both the grades rooms. Of course, they were played by talented musicians. Words cannot express how pleased I am to have attended a feis with all grades dancers being accompanied by accordionists.
RESULTS: 8 out of 10
Paper posted results were in a room all their own. This kept the hallways clear and the dancers reactions to their results contained. Both good things. There were a few snags in postings. For the most part, it was about 20 minutes from dancing to posting. Some took longer than others, as the feis abyss seems to take up residence wherever tabulations room are set up. Over all, quick and smooth.
VENDORS: 10 out of 10
Why so high? One word.
SMARTIES! (WTF EDITORS NOTE: She is right, I do love Smarties)
Ms. Sam, from the Queen’s Pantry, was one of the vendors for this feis. She brought a case of Smarties. If money was no object, I would have bought the entire box. (And been the envy of Mr. WTF, I am sure.) As Ash would not permit, we bought a few of them. We saw that a few families were in the know and had placed orders. There were some happily stuffed purple bags walking around the feis. Now, we all know for next time. www.thequeenspantry.com. Also, there were feis t shirt vendors, dance shoes/socks, and wigs. If you needed it, you could buy it at this feis. On Saturday, there were massage therapy students offering free chair massages and a stretching table for all feis attendees.
JUDGING: 5 out of 10
As a rule, a perfect score in this category requires that my little darlings dance for a different judge each dance. This feis had soft shoe danced for the same judge and hard shoe danced for a different judge. So, better than all dances for the same judge. But, not the ideal feis judging situation.
AWARDS: 10 out of 10
The feis committee really went all out this year. Novice and above all received trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. There were lots of smiling dancers, leaving the awards room with an arm load of shiny, happy rewards for their dancing. Awards were down the hall from results, in their own room. As with the results room, this kept the hall ways clear. At least 3 people were able to hand out awards at a time, from computer check in stations, so crowding within the room was kept to a minimum. Championships were announced on stage, complete with podium and sashes.
SOCIAL MEDIA: 5 out of 10
There really isn’t much social media presence for the feis. The school has a facebook page and a website. The feis registration website has the information listed, as does the NAFC schedule site. As side from that, there isn’t anything else. So, if you had questions, they would need to be emailed to the feis chair, from the feis registration website. This can be a challenge, especially when many are used to posting a question on social media and receiving a quick response.