This review is for Saturday’s Grades competitions and this is the 4th year we have attended. The Pittsburgh Winter Feis is held at the Hyatt Pittsburgh Airport- the hotel is literally right at the airport. This feis is run by Jim G. and his great crew of volunteers (they also do the West Virginia Feis, Celtic Fling, Pittsburgh Halloween Feis and the new, Tessie Burke Feis). They had a bit of a challenge this year with a wedding reception occurring on Saturday evening, which required some logistical organization to get the feis things taken down or moved out of sight for the reception, and then back up for Sunday’s comp. The hotel restaurant was also under construction (staff said they hope to have it open again February). But with all that was going on, things from our perspective ran smooth. There were about 650 competitors registered for between the two days of competition. Registration was thru eFeis.
The competitions are held in a large ballroom (3 stages) and a smaller meeting room with one stage. Vendors are set up in the halls and there was a small room for camping (usually 2 rooms but one was being used as a temporary location for the hotel restaurant that was being remodeled). It seemed that that people were camping fairly light. It is worth staying at the hotel for the sake of ultimate convenience, you can zip down for the competition with minimal gear.
DD stages was covered with marley, I think, new for this feis I believe, and not sure if all stages had the marley. We saw no falls. The smaller room with one stage was tight- the stage was set in the center of the room which was much longer than it was wide. Chairs to observe available but many were also standing with a view from behind the stage as well. The competitor seating was behind the stage so the spectators were back a bit from the actual stage. It was a little loud from people talking in the room. Temperature was decent. We were in this room so I have no comment on how the larger room was for comfort as we only had one competition there late in the day and it had cleared out.
They give you a free parking pass with your dancer card. If you stay a second night and are not dancing on Sunday, you can get a $5 parking pass. I believe the daily rate was $13.
Different judge for all dances and she received comments from all. 2 judges sharing table and they seemed to take turns with the competitions. Our judges seemed really engaged and enjoying the dancing.
There was one musician per stage and DD good here it well. I did talk to another parent who said their daughter was having trouble hearing the music on her stage because she could hear the music from the other stages, she was dancing on the stage in the middle of the room. She said she wished the walls were pulled out more to help with the sound but then that would probably sacrifice seating.
We did not eat but there seemed to be the usual junk feis food, such as soft pretzels, chicken strips. I did notice some fresh fruit. They didn’t seem to have as much this time perhaps because of the space constraints happening because of the restaurant remodel. Also, the mini-Starbucks coffee bar was also really scaled back. They had brewed coffee, which may have been Starbucks, but did not have the sissy coffee drinks that they usually have available. Again, that will reopen again after the remodel. You can also venture over to the aiport but selections in my opinion are so-so. I have gotten a big ceasar salad at a deli there. My advice, bring your own.
I really didn’t venture into the vendors much this year. We did see the spray paint t-shirt guy and Rutherford. They were positioned down at the end of the hall, further down because of the wedding. Harrington Photography was also there. The vendors met our needs.
Our results were up very quickly. Posted on eFeis Sunday afternoon, after the champ comps, and personal results emailed around the same time.
The flow was good. They started on time. They did break around noon for a ½ lunch. Our stage monitor gave everyone the heads up when they were going to break and for how long. They stuck to the schedule and were back at it in a half hour. Jim was moving comps off of our stage onto other open stages to keep it flowing. I think they were on a mission to get done timely so they could give the hotel staff ample time to turn things over for the wedding.
I give the feis an overall score of 9/10. The food was the only sour point and maybe the committee will work with facility to improve that next year.
I know a few people were saying that it was “out in the middle of nowhere”, but it really isn’t. It seems that way because of the airport roads and expansiveness of the airport property. There are other restaurants and hotels nearby either by Robert Morris University, or head toward Pittsburgh. There is a huge shopping complex called Robinson Town Center which has numerous restaurants. Downtown Pittsburgh is a quick drive, 20-25 minutes without traffic. If you have a car, venture out – there is nothing like driving through the tunnel and seeing the city of Pittsburgh on the other side.
What Did You Think?
What did you think of the Pittsburgh Winter Feis 2014, Grades Level (On a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being lowest)?
- 9 (33%, 2 Votes)
- 8 (33%, 2 Votes)
- 10 (17%, 1 Votes)
- 7 (17%, 1 Votes)
- 6 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 5 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 4 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 3 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 2 (0%, 0 Votes)
- 1 (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 6