The Queen City Feis was held on May 10, 2014, in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Duke Energy Convention Center. This is the building which spells CINCINNATI in window lights. It is surrounded by several hotel and shopping options. The feis hotel was also connected to the convention center by SkyWalk. The SkyWalks also connect to the Tower Place Mall and secured parking garages. From First Feis to Prizewinner and Adult to Championship levels, this feis welcomes all ages and abilities. Several memorial specials are also a draw for championship dancers. This feis can certainly boast of their excellent crew, or herd, of feis volunteers. They were easy to spot in their day glow t-shirts, with GRUNT! on the back.
Please remember, this is a review from a Southern Region perspective. The Wilkes family does not usually feis in the Mid America Region. This was our third foray into a feis offered by this region. This is also our 3rd feis weekend in a row. Parts of this review are a bit more rambling than previous reviews. So, y’all just remember the perspective of the reviewer while reading.
EDITORS NOTE: This review is focused on Grades Levels. If you are interested in notes from the PC/OC levels, click here.
Venue: 8 out of 10
Convention center feis! As most readers already know, I am a fan of convention center feisanna. This venue is an excellent example of a well run, convention center feis. Walkways were fairly self patrolled. This Georgia Belle learned the true meaning of feis camping at this feis. I saw everything but a camp fire and a tent. Though I did look, there were no marshmallows or chocolate bars visible. I did see a few candy stashes, though. There was also ample seating for attendees and their guests. Several times, I saw unclaimed and empty seats in the viewing areas, while parents stood. The stages were low, so I am guessing they wanted to see the dancers feet. With low stages, standing, is a good way to ensure a view of dancer feet. If you know anything about dance in general, you know to watch the feet. The bathrooms were clean and well stocked. They were not well marked, which created some confusion and embarrassment. Camping areas were taped off and well marked. There were tables for munching at a couple of locations in the hall. There was also plenty of room for practicing, warming up, and stretching. The feis location was not well marked, upon entering the convention center. There were plenty of Duke Energy Center employees and security personnel to direct everyone.
Parking: 7 out of 10
The parking options were all very close to the convention center. $15 to park in a secure garage. $10 for an open, unsecure lot. There were a couple of both within a block of the convention center. The prices were higher than expected, especially compared to Atlanta parking prices. There were skywalks to the feis hotel and to secured parking garage.
Feis Flow: 9 out of 10
The feis was well announced over loud speakers. It started on time, with the the opening ceremonies. The majority of attendees did pay the proper respect to all national anthems. It warmed my heart, to hear my own little darlings sing the anthem of the United States of America. They were just behind me and I nearly cried. Patriotism should be taught when the children are young. It is a blessing to know that my little darlings have paid attention to that teaching. But, I digress…the stages did not all start at the same time. Some began immediately after the opening ceremonies. Others began later. The figure stages that began slowly, that I noticed, were due to either adjudicators not being quite ready or to musicians tuning their instruments and handling last minute sound checks. The volunteers were well connected with technology. Each stage had at least one volunteer wired with a headset and radio communication. So, stages were held when there were conflicts. Figure dancers did not miss the start of their solo dances on other stages. Such a stress relief! Well done, Queen City GRUNTS! You are excellent examples of well trained, hard working, well connected, and patient feis volunteers.
Vendors: 10 out of 10
Several vendors ran feis specials. One wig vendor was selling a full wig for $55. Another was selling sterling silver Celtic knotwork birthstone rings for $20. This feis had a wonderful variety of vendors available.
- Two wig and hair bob stands
- Two crafty doo dah and doll stands
- Dress maker
- Custom Hair bands and hair bobs
- Irish, Celtic, and Feis themed stand
- Used dress rack
Judges: 5 out of 10
One little darling danced all three dances for the same judge. Another little darling danced twice for one judge and twice for another judge. My big darling who danced 7 grade competitions, only danced for 3 judges. On the grade stages, there was certainly a lack of judge rotation.
Music: 7 out of 10
Violins were on the grade stages for our little darlings. This caused music overflow from neighboring stages. The champion stages had accordions. Oh, beautiful accordion! Dear accordion, you were missed on the grades side of convention center. This feis, I only noticed one musician mishap on the grades stages. Very talented violinists on all of the stages our darlings danced.
Results: 4 out of 10
Results started out posting very quickly. Beginners were out within 10 minutes of their dances. With the start of advanced beginner and novice, the results started coming out slowly. Some results came out in 15-20 minutes after the competition, others took over 45 minutes to be posted. Some were lost in the shuffle completely, and did not post for 2 hours. One of the our little darlings had a competition whose results fell into that category, the feis results abyss. Do you think such a thing could be plotted on a stage assignment map? Here is the tabulation area. There is the awards stage. And right next to the podium, that spiral shape, that is the feis results abyss. Also, the awards were on the slight side, in my opinion and experience. From beginner to prizewinner, they received the same medals. Even championship dancers received medals for their treble reel. Only first place treble reel champion dancers received a small crystal boxed gift. I am accustomed to champ treble reel receiving trophies and sashes on a podium at the River Valley Feis. Or, receiving trophies and gifts at feisanna by The Drake School. It was surprising, to me, to see such slight awards for such a large feis. Champion results were an hour to 2.5 hours between competitions and announcement. The length of time between the championship dances and their results was a topic of conversation all over the feis. Not a positive or pleasant topic, from what we experienced.
Food: 6 out of 10
The venue food options were, personally, expensive. Not Disney expensive, mind you. But still, $3.50 for a pretzel. Only a pretzel. Another feis family spent $30 on chicken fingers and fries. No drinks or extras for that price. The sandwiches we wanted to order were sold out by the time our family reached the head of the line. Sandwich plates were $8.50, plus the cost of a drink. Ash was quite disappointed in the lack of coffee. But, there were options. This feis offered a wide variety of food vendors, provided you were willing to pay for the privilege.
- Specialty lemonade
- Custom smoothies
- Gourmet chocolate and treats