This was our first time competing at the Gateway Feis. Last year at this time we were still new to the feis scene and, frankly, didn't want to mess with it. Now, though, we've reached the point where we go to enough feisseanna that we recognized the adjudicators at this feis.
As the name implies, the Gateway Feis is held here in St. Louis. It isn't very big, and the venue was certainly adequate for the number of competitors. Everything we needed was in a fairly compact area. Four stages were designated for Beginners through Open -- the higher echelon of competitors were up on the 12th floor, and we never ventured up there. Someone had the forethought to designate the closest men's restroom as a women's restroom, which was clever given that the attendees were female by a ratio of approximately 10 to 1. Almost all of AnnaBeth's dances were on one stage, all of Thalia's were on another stage, and all of Neighbor-Best-Friend Who-Needs-a-Clever-BlogName were on another. Too bad they were in 3 separate rooms, but we managed to see each dance some.
The food sold in the concession area was at a fairly reasonable price, which was sort of startling. Also, there was an adequate amount of seating for many people to eat lunch quickly at nearly the same time.
Several signs adorned the hallway proclaiming "No Camping". In feis-speak this means that people were not to dump their dress bags, wig cases, shoe bags, snack bags, etc. etc. in piles on blankets right there in the hallway. I wish I could've taken a picture, since every sign was right above a massive amount of dress bags, wig cases, shoe bags, snack bags, etc. etc piled on blankets. Irish Dance involves toting around masses of flotsam, and you've gotta put it somewhere -- this feis didn't provide an "official" camping area, so people did the best they could.
I couldn't get a picture of the camping because I let the camera batteries run down the night before. Oops. I did manage to get a picture of AnnaBeth before she started dancing :
No make up, but check out that wig! Wow, we got some height to it this time! We use big scrunchies; other dancers have been rumored to use a sock.
AnnaBeth medalled in 5 of her 6 dances. She was delighted by this. She had hoped to medal in 1 or 2. Our lesson for the summer competitions has been "dignified defeat" so it was sort of nice for her to have a chance to be a gracious winner for a change of pace. Thalia also medalled in 5 of her 6 dances, but that's become her standard -- actually, her placement was a bit lower this time than in feisseanna earlier in the summer.
The feis started at 8:30a.m. and we were calling "see you next week" to the dancers from Kansas City as we loaded up the car at 2p.m., which was a fairly short day compared to some of the other competitions we've been to. Heck, we had time to go to the pool and pretend we have a normal life that evening.
Will we be back? Probably -- it's in town, nicely laid out for our level of dancing, and was over relatively quickly. The fact that AnnaBeth managed to get several medals added to the charm, of course.