• Photos from the Detroit International Feis and Fleadh 2009: Click here

The 48th Annual Detroit International Feis has changed venues this year. And from the comments heard during the Feis, it was for the better. 

The Detroit Feis is always held on the first Saturday of June, and this year at Ultimate Soccer in Pontiac. The biggest change was there was air conditioning in the new venue. And even with a change in venue, the day ran smoothly, with only a few kinks to work out.

Christina Douglas from Cleveland, Ohio told IrishCentral, “I always liked how spacious the Detroit Feis venues are.” She and her daughter, Ally, who dances for Brady-Campbell School in the under 10 Novice level, were camped out on a blanket while waiting for her next dance.  

 As you look around the new venue there are two main areas, one for prelims/open champion stages, and another for all the other levels of dances. Each area had ample amount of room for dancers, their families and friends to watch and wait for dances and awards.

Leana Novakovic of the Corrigan School stated that this is her favorite feis. This is her fourth time attending. This year she placed first in Preliminary Championship 17 and under group. With her was Kian Paliani also from the Corrigan School. This is his first year at this feis. He placed first in Preliminary Championship 14 and under.

The results area was nicely set up, and as I was checking out the area I was able to see Michaela Cosgrove from the Ardan Academy of Irish Dance pick up her 2nd place medal for her 8 and under Advance Beginner Hornpipe. It was a nice addition to the many other medals she had already won for the day.

For the first time Detroit Feis had a Special Reel competition for Novice and Open levels that dancers could register for the day of the Feis. I got to see the Open 14 and under competition, all the dancers were amazing, but the judge could only pick one. Samantha Carlin, 13, from the Celtic Academy of Irish Dance, was the special dancer who got to take home the sash and trophy. She was very excited that she had won the competition.

The Detroit Feis has a Dance-Off for the Sheila O’Kennedy Memorial Trophy. It is for the 1st and 2nd place winners of Open Championship competitions. The winners had to dance a Set dance in this competition. The winner of the dance off was Michael Holland from the Richens-Timm School in Ohio.

A perpetual trophy sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) is given out at the Detroit Feis. The competition was open to the 1st place winners of Novice and Open Traditional Set dance.

John McInerney, State President of Michigan AOH, was there personally to give the trophy to the winner. This year’s winner was Bridget Dolowy, 11, from the O’Hare School in Plymouth.  I was also lucky enough to see Bridget the night before compete in the music competition.

Friday night she competed in the Advance Fiddle under 11 competition. She also won 1st in that competition, with the judge stating she had “good rolls and good cuts” while playing the fiddle.

Friday night before the Feis there was a music competition. For all instrumental competitors there is an Al Purcell “Best Overall” Memorial Award.  The winner of the trophy was Hannah Wasserbaech, 15. This is her second year in a row to win this title. This year she played three instruments: tin whistle, fiddle, and mandolin, and won 1st in all of them.

Later this year in August she will be competing in Ireland in the All Ireland music competition, Fleadh.