How can I begin to tell you about this feis? There was the feis itself (a typical McCafferty feis, which is to say it was well-run and fun, although the music could've been better). And there was our experience of the feis.
Our experience started on Tuesday, when Annabeth tried on her school dress (in which she competes) and discovered it was waaaay too small. Small beyond our ability to alter. Which had to happen eventually, since she's been wearing this same dress for nearly 3 years.
So, her teacher said to stop by the studio on Wednesday night to see if there were any viable dresses. Which we did. And most of the ones her size were ... lacking. We finally settled on one that was too big. And I spent Thursday altering it. It's still too big, but she probably won't wear it again for a couple of months, during which time she'll probably grow. Anyway, it took all day Thursday to shorten it (and also take it in a smidge -- it still needs to be taken in lots more). And we planned to leave for the feis on Friday morning -- the plan was for me to drive the kids to Ft. Smith and meet Rick there, since he was already at the feis hotel on business.
Late Thursday night we did the only sensible thing -- stopped getting ready for the feis or doing anything constructive whatsoever, and concentrated on making an acrostic of a friend's name. I think the inspiration was someone realizing that N could stand for Norwegian Christmas Elf and H could stand for Hefty, which was so charming that the kids felt they had to continue. Annabeth insisted that the W should stand for Wafty; I insisted that wasn't a word. I googled it to prove my point. And, guess what -- it IS a word. And instantly became our favorite word, and the theme for the feis and the weekend in general.
All of which is backstory to tell you why the word "wafty" will be appearing several times in this blog entry.
We arrived Friday afternoon (directions from St. Louis to Ft. Smith -- drive west on Interstate 44, and hang a left at Joplin, Missouri). Rick was already checked into the Holiday Inn City Center, which is a very nice Holiday Inn in downtown Ft. Smith, and attached to the Convention Center in which the feis took place. It has pull out beds that actually work, for example. And a giant waterfall in the lobby.
With plenty of room at the bottom to play Monopoly.
The hotel once again offered a free breakfast for feis-goers, which included custom omelettes. Digression: Last year the breakfast was pandemonium because the kitchen and dining room was understaffed and unprepared for the number of people who showed up. This year while Rick as staying at the hotel he mentioned that the same event was coming up on Saturday. The kitchen/dining room staff said they had no notice from management that it was going on -- none at all. But they called in extra help based on Rick's comment. The breakfast flowed much more smoothly because of it -- and the employees commented to Rick that management never did give them an inkling that it was going to be anything but a normal sleepy morning. Wow.
Anyway, after breakfast we headed over to the Convention Center, which looks like this:
Very spacious. We missed most of the 3hands and group dances this year. Last year there were some very cool ones -- family teams, mixed adult ceilis. No clue if that went on this year.
The feis had a single musician, who had problems making his connecting flights from Ohio to Ft. Smith via Dallas, and thus missed the form dances. The Powers That Be used recordings for the ceilis (which works out okay). The musician showed up sometime during the reels.
In the meantime, we shopped for gaudy earrings to match Thalia's dress. Amazing that you can hit every store in a St. Louis mall and not find a single pair of red earrings, but come to a feis and you have multiple choices.
Also, general goofing around, and acting wafty. I think she was trying to look like a traffic cone. Or maybe a feis-style interpretation of The Mad Hatter.
One of the judges had a wafty pink shirt. I was sorely tempted to sneak up behind him so I could point it out to Annabeth, who was up on stage in front of him. But I didn't, simply taking weird pictures instead (and believe me, you're just getting a teensy peek at the weird pictures taken this feis).
Of course, it wasn't all about waftiness and gaudy jewelry -- the day had a strong KNITTING theme. I was working on a scarf, and wearing a silk Moebius I'd made a few years ago. It turned out many knitters were in attendance, some knitting, some just wearing some of their pieces. I LOVED this sweater -- she got the pattern in Ireland a few years ago:
Around 2pm one of the PTB got up to announce that the feis was running AHEAD OF SCHEDULE, and would be commencing the PC/OC championship dances earlier than the expected 3pm. Can you imagine? Folks, if a feis runs ON TIME you consider it miraculous and are mightily impressed that they made it through the grades and treble reels by 3:30-ish. Running ahead of schedule is unheard of. We were easily home in St. Louis by 9:30pm.
As for actual results (you know, the reason you supposedly show up at these things -- not to be silly or play Monopoly or eat omlettes or discuss knitting, but to compete in dances), our dancers didn't rise above 3rd place. But we still had a great time, and plan to go back. We hope to hit all the McCaffery feisseanna this year -- they tend to have a nice atmosphere. My only quibble is that I wish they had more than one musician, because if something happens to that single musician you're stuck.