The 14th Annual Wisconsin Winter Feis was held on Saturday January 18, 2014 at the Olympia Resort and Conference Center in Oconomowoc, WI. The feis was run back to back with the Dairyland Feis, and so some aspects of this review apply to the review for the Sunday feis as well.
This was the first year we attended this feis, and we had a pleasant experience overall.
The Olympia was a new venue for this feis this year, and I thought it was nice. It was an older hotel, and a little remodeling probably wouldn’t hurt, but structurally, it was a nice facility for a feis. There were several ballrooms for stages, room for vendors & practicing, and a nice remote (and pretty much unused!) location for camping.
Those who stayed overnight at the hotel enjoyed a very reasonable $89/night rate, and had use of an indoor pool.
Parking was available at the resort for free. Those who did not not stay at the resort were in some cases relegated to far outlying lots & had to take shuttles in.
Registration was on the first floor of the building as you walked in. Volunteers got my dancer registered & on her way quickly! Awards required a trip downstairs (an elevator was available).
The feis had 6 stages this year, plus a room for music competitions. 2 stages were PC/OC and 4 stages were grades. The stages were all fairly close, so even those with multiple dancers should not have had to walk too far.
Vendors in the hallway outside the ballrooms where the stages were, as well as with awards. We don’t spend too much time with the vendors, but they seemed adequate, and the dancer’s grandmother (who chose this feis to be the first she came to) was able to buy a little something for the dancer without any trouble.
Camping was available, but only in a remote location away from the stages. There was a progression board in the camping area that was kept up to date.
Plenty of seating was available at all stages, but as is unfortunately typical, there was a fair amount of feis shaming going on.
What The Feis Editors Note: Maybe a fair amount of feis rudeness, I don’t remember any shaming ;)
Overall Venue Score: 8/10.
My dancer danced 6 times and was only seen by 2 judges, and one of those judges saw her for 4 dances. This is the one area I think this feis could improve on – I think more judge rotation is needed. Because this feis is run by age & by dance, I realize that dances are close together, but I still think another rotation of judges could have been accommodated.
Judge Score: 7/10
Our musician was fantastic! We did notice some bleed over of music from the other stage in the ballroom we were in, but it wasn’t as bad as it is in some other venues.
Music Score: 8/10
The hotel had a grab & go type of area with bagels & other other breakfast things, as well as premade sandwiches, yogurt, etc. There was also a sit-down restaurant that was fairly reasonably priced.
Food Score: 7/10
Results were lightning fast and were also posted on Feisworx real time. We wait until our dancer is done with all her dances before checking any results, so I don’t know how long individual dances were taking to come out, but my dancer’s results were all complete & posted 5 minutes after she finished her last dance.
As the parent of a young Open dancer (where, as you all know, the competition is tough, and placement sometimes seems arbitrary, and it’s very easy for a child to go home without so much as a single ribbon as a reminder of their hard work & effort), I really appreciate feiseanna who provide generous placements/awards. So we really love that the Wisconsin Winter Feis places a minimum of 50% in every competition. Medals were awarded for 1st-3rd place, and ribbons after that. The medals were on the smaller side, but were nice quality, and the ribbons seemed well made too. Like most Mid-America feiseanna, medals came without ribbons, but that would be my only complaint.
Results/Awards Score: 9/10
For grades, this feis was run by age & dance, with U11 & younger in the morning and U12 & up in the afternoon. Our dancer started dancing around 9:00 and was done with her 6 dances by 12:00, which is excellent in my book. If you had dancers in both U11 & over 12, then your day would have been longer, however, so I could see that this would be a drawback for families with multiple dancers, but I & my lone dancer love this format!
I do understand that not all stages were as efficient as ours, and that some stages had significant delays, so I am reducing the score to reflect that.
Feis Flow Score: 8/10
Overall Score: 8/10
Great job, Wisconsin Winter Feis!!