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!
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.
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 – 1:15PM – DON’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.
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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Stephenie has worked with and around books and authors for over 12 years, both at retail booksellers and public libraries. She is a rare Huntsville native, mother of two high-energy boys, wife of one, and eerily addicted to community volunteering. When she's not being the Managing Editor for RCM she likes to stalk her favorite authors online, cook with way too much butter, and also manages to conduct freelance marketing and PR work.