The Big Apple Feis at the Grand Hyatt this weekend served as a one-stop Irish dancing shop for dancers and parents alike.
The hallways adjoining the dance halls were transformed into a bustling bazaar as vendors hawked everything from shoes to dresses to wigs to jewelry.
There were even Irish dancing practice floors. According to vendor Deidre O’Malley, these are light enough to be transported anywhere in your house.
Kathleen Foley Teodoro, who was selling Irish dancing accessories such as wigs, makeup, and dresses, said that many mothers came up to her looking to purchase plastic number-holders and pins for their girls.
“I could have made a fortune if I just sold those,” she said. Instead, she laid out a bowl of the items out for free. Like other salespeople at the Big Apple Feis, she happened to be an “Irish Dancing Mom” herself – and knew the panic that can hit just before a performance.
Another “Irish Dancing Mom” and vendor, Terry O’Hare made a 12-hour car trip from Illinois to to come to the Big Apple Feis. The mother of four Irish dancers, her wigs were top-sellers, costing up to $70. Why were they so popular? “Because they are the best,” she replied.
Ken Barrett came from Limerick, Ireland, to attend the Feis. His company, KB Barrett, specializes in leisurewear such as especially embroidered hooded sweatshirts and T-shirts. Irish-Americans are his best customers.
His merchandise, he said, offers them a chance to connect to their heritage. And of course, it offers him a chance to connect with their dollars or Euros.