Detroit International Feis
In 1961, supporters of traditional Irish dance in the Detroit area established the Detroit International Feis Committee. This committee organized the first annual Feis in 1962 in conjunction with a Gaelic League picnic.
After the dancing competition was established, other Gaelic traditions, including singing, recitations, and instrumental music were added. All of this activity was aimed at furthering the Irish culture and spirit in Detroit.
From its humble beginning, the Feis grew into a favorite event throughout the midwest. As the popularity of Irish dancing waxes and wanes, the number of entries rises and falls. The attention afforded to step and ceili dancing by Riverdance and Lord of the Dance increased the number of participants for many years.
As the event continues to prosper, it is not unusual to have second, and possibly third generation participants.
The Feis has always had an international flavor, with Canadian competitors, parents, teachers, and musicians contributing to its success.
The key to the longevity and success of the Feis is the spirit of the volunteers that are responsible for organizing it. From the group that conceived the competition in 1961 until today, the staff of the Feis have been dedicated to the ideals of the event and willing to give their personal time to ensure its success.
While the main focus of the Feis activity is on the dance, the other competitions and social activities are significant to the promotion of Irish culture and values. It is the responsibility of the citizens of Detroit that are hosting the event to ensure that these goals are met and not lost in the competition of dancing.
Outside of St. Patrick's Day, this is the largest gathering of Irish in the Detroit area. It is an awesome opportunity for significant interaction and promotion of the joys of being Irish (however you got to be that way!). The members of the Feis committee invite you to join them to ensure the continuing success and expanding traditions of this event. If you are interested in joining us, contact any committee member listed above for more details and meeting times.
(Blessings with you)
Feis Chairs Through the Years:
1961-1984: Dan O'Kennedy
1985-1986: Ken Kuhn
1987-1990: John Fallon
1991-1992: Agnes Gowdy
1993-1995: Patricia Gushman
1996-1996: George Belvitch
1997-1999: Sean Kilcoin
2000-2000: Dawn O'Leary Hunt
2001-2003: Sean Kilcoin
2004-2005: Howard Ring
2006-2008: Sean Kilcoin
2009-2010: Dolores Henehan
2011-2019: Sean Kilcoin