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How To Maneuver Panoply With Kids

How To Maneuver Panoply With Kids

Springtime in Huntsville means one huge thing – it’s Panoply time! For first-timers, the word Panoply (pa-nə-plē) comes from the Greek panoplia and means “a magnificent or impressive array”, and the event definitely lives up to the name.

Rocket City Mom has put together the perfect schedule for you to enjoy Panoply with your family. Follow our template and you’ll be sure to hit the kid-friendly highlights for all three days at the festival. Watch out for our “DON’T MISS” notations and you’ll be good to go!
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Tickets are only $5 per day or $10 per weekend and children 10 and under receive FREE admission.
Friday, April 26 – 5:00 – 9:00PM
Saturday, April 27 – 10:00AM – 9:00PM
Sunday, April 28 – Noon – 7:00PM

First, the basics: what to bring along. Keep an eye on the weather forecast – there’s a chance of rain and you’ll need to plan accordingly. Sunscreen is not optional at Panoply, folks. Grease ’em up good and wear a hat. Bring a light jacket for the breezy bits in the morning and evening. Remember to bring your camera! More information about parking, strollers (bring them), and coolers (don’t bring them), can be found on the Panoply FAQ page. A festival map will be distributed at the entry gates of Big Spring Park, but in the meantime, you can preview the stage schedule HERE.

The Arts Council volunteers and staff work hard to make Panoply a great place for families! When your family arrives at Panoply, be sure to stop to get your child a green wristband. Write your cell phone number somewhere on the band (we recommend the inside). If you are separated from your child, our wonderful volunteers will take them to one of our Lost Kids stations. There, a Lost Kids volunteer will snip off the wristband and call you immediately.

Friday (Open from 5:00 – 9:00PM)

5:00 – 5:30PM – Open this year’s festival with a bit of international culture at the Global Village Stage located in the backyard of the Art Museum. Bourbon & Shamrocks will perform traditional Irish music with dance accompaniment from the Fitness Arts Center. A family favorite!

5:45 – 6:30PM – All that drumming works up an appetite – lucky for you the Family Food Tent is close by on Williams Avenue. Panoply is known for it’s amazing food, so grab a bite from any of the delicious vendors and enjoy the music of The Ben Parker Project while you dine. (Ben is 15 years old and already an amazing musician!)

7:15 – 8:30PM – With kids in tow, a quick trip to the bathrooms are probably in order after dinner. Now that’s taken care of, the nearby PanoKids Gazebo is a good place to wrap up the evening. Doctor Osborn the magician puts on a delightful show and the new Robonosis will close it out. What kid doesn’t love a real, life-sized robot?
DON’T MISS: Face painting at Panoply is a MUST and a tradition, no exceptions allowed! The lines will hopefully be shorter on opening night than they are the rest of the weekend.

Saturday Morning (Open from 10:00AM – 9:00PM)

10:00-Noon – Start your day with a little fiddling from the South’s most talented bowmen & women at the annual State Fiddling Championship in the Global Village, then head to the Masks Around the World Tent.
DON’T MISS: There children can learn about the history of masks and make one of their own to be their passport to the Global Village. Begin your tour of the Global Village where seven countries will have beautiful tents that include cultural displays, hands-on children’s activities, and demonstrations. Kids can add to their mask at each country! The Global Village Countries include Columbia, Ireland, Egypt, China, Nevis, and Palestine. Before you head to your next stop it might be a good time to get a sweet treat of ice cream or lemonade located nearby.

Your mask is your passport to creativity at Panoply’s Global Village.

Saturday Afternoon

After snacks, head south of the red bridge to the Visual Arts Village, where demonstrating artists will share their craft. Once you’ve been inspired, add your own creative mark to Panoply by stopping at the Community Art Activity and helping “paint Panoply”. Don’t forget to take a picture at the nearby photo spot.
After you have toured the Visual Arts Village you will definitely be ready for lunch. Make your way over to the Food Vendor Row on Williams Avenue and grab a bite. DON’T MISS: You can stop by the Panoply Pinwheels Tent after lunch and turn your empty water or Pepsi bottle from lunch into a beautiful recycled windmill!

12:45 – 1:15PMDON’T MISS: Plot a course for the Pano-Kids Gazebo for the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library Puppet Troupe. Rumor has it this year’s show is awesome! Sit tight, because after the puppets the Fantasy Players will take the stage for 30 minutes of interactive theater fun from 1:15 – 2:00.

Saturday Afternoon into Evening

Time for a relaxing stroll through the Art Marketplace where over 65 artists from around the nation will be selling their work. Clay, paint, glass, mixed media, medal sculpture, wood work and even tie-dye will all be featured. DON’T MISS: After visiting this blend of incredible talent you too will feel like you could paint a masterpiece, so head down to the Easel Art tent by the water and paint your own work of art.
Panoply Collage
6:45 – 7:30PMPM – As evening approaches, you’ll want to make your way to the Global Village Stage for dinner and a show because the Latin moves & sounds of Salseroblanko and Mambo Gris Gris will take the stage, and your whole family can work off those calories with all the booty-shaking you’ll be compelled to do. Still want more? Find a good spot and a funnel cake for dessert to watch the nightly fireworks over the pond.

Sunday (Open from Noon – 7:00PM)

12:45 – 2:00PM – It’s never too early to start off the day with a belly dance performance at the Global Village Stage from the Beledi Club of Huntsville. The Valley Jubilee stage is a very short walk away where you can watch the Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre demonstrate classical ballet and perform excerpts of their shows.
DON’T MISS: Then cross the red bridge to Discover Music, presented by the Huntsville Symphony Guild. Kids can get up close and personal with all the instruments of the orchestra, and even try their hand at playing a few!

2:45 – 4:00 – Move on to the PanoKids Gazebo for some performances by Theatre Randolph and participate in interactive kid’s theater. Then go see the Valley Jubilee Stage for a special appearance by the original Junior League of Huntsville Rainbow Rhythm Band at 3:15!

4:00 – 7:00 – Now’s the time to play catch-up if you missed anything. DON’T MISS: What better way to close out another great Panoply year than by watching the last fireworks show of the event over the duck pond?

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View Comments (45)
  • Great ideas! Panoply is always a wonderful time, and my kids enjoy it even more when it’s muddy 🙂 Thanks for the pronunciation info, I have an old friend that still calls the event “Panopoly” (think, Monopoly).

  • Sounds like a great time. I am looking forward to going for the first time this year!

  • I have been to Panoply school days a few years but not the weekend events. My girls always have fun performing for all the schoolkids

  • Don’t forget to stop by the Valley Jubilee Stage for local dance talent. There are some talented dancers and choreographers in this area!

    • Absolutely! I included watching the Alabama Youth Ballet in the list, but there’s so much more. I love how each stage has its own theme, and I remember fondly performing on that very stage as a girl. 🙂

  • Thanks for the info. I don’t know if I have just one favorite memory. I just love watching my kids have fun with all of the art.

  • I remember going every year as a child and now I get to do that with my daughter. Thankfully now they don’t require tickets for everything. That is the one thing my mother disliked about Panoply. Now they have made it easy and it is more enjoyable.

  • We love Panoply in my house. I always loved going as a kid and now my daughter loves. She really enjoys seeing the live performances.

  • We went to panoplu for the first time last year. The kids loved watching people dance on stage. They have been asking me ever since if it was time for panoply!

  • this was a really helpful blog! i may just try to brave it with the youngsters.

  • Panoply falls near my son’s birthday each year and that is how we celebrate! We spend an entire day together getting face paint and having fun!

  • I haven’t been to panoply in years! I am very excited to take my soon to be 6 year old this year!

  • I love Panoply! Such a great memory from my childhood. I would love to take my son this year! We haven’t had a chance to take him yet :/.

  • I’ve been busy the last couple of years, but my family and I are going this year. I’ve been looking forward to this since last December.

  • Panoply has been a great treat for my little one and I’m so blessed to reside in a city which offers so many creative artistic outlets for both the young and old.

  • I love Panoply! My favorite memory is when I was in elementary school I did a drawing and it was on display at Panoply. It was really fun having everyone look at my drawing! I would love to be able to take my neice so she can experience it!!!

  • I”m looking forward to participating in the Madison Community Band at Panoply this year.

  • Thanks so much for sharing! This will be our first time going since we are new to the area and I am really excited to take my kiddos!

  • I’ve never been to Panoply, but we are celebrating our son’s 3rd birthday this weekend and the festival would be a great experience for him!

  • Thanks for sharing…We have never been to Panoply and after reading your post we will definitely attend this weekend!

  • we love panoply! I have gone since the first year and love sharing it with my kids. We look forward to the drum circle

    • We love the drums too – unfortunately they aren’t going to be there this year. Maybe check out the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra instruments instead?

  • Wonderful write up. Panoply is one of our favorite family events of the year!

  • I loved going to the student art tent every year growing up to see the art submitted from area schools each year. My daughters look forward to it now!

  • I am excited for my three kids to get to experience the fun of Panoply this year! My most memorable experience of Panoply is playing piano at Panoply when I was younger. I won a piano competition at the mall. So, I got to play at Panoply!

  • We LOVE Panoply .. look forward to all of it … but fav is buying this years print to add to our collection 🙂

  • I haven’t been since I’ve had kids of my own, but I loved it as a kid!! My favorite has always been the crafts! I’m excited to take my little ones now 🙂

  • Last year was the best time for me, It was the first time my husband and I took our little one for the first time. I’ve ALWAYS loved Panoply and it’s diversity!

  • I have only been to Panoply once, since we are new to Huntsville, but my daughter had a wonderful experience! It really opened our eyes to all the fun stuff Huntsville has to offer! We were very impressed!

  • My favorite memory was when my 2 year old, (who is now 6) got his picture taken for the Huntsville times, wearing a space helmet.

  • I remember my sister’s art work being displayed at Panoply as a child. She was so proud.

  • Can’t wait! One of my children has artwork featured this year! Love watching them create at Panoply!!

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