If there was a term or a phrase that could be used to describe Pensacon it would be normal. The dictionary defines normal, or normalcy, as conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern in which it’s considered usual or routine and that’s exactly what we saw in Pensacola this past weekend.
For the past nine years, Pensacon has been providing a unique fan driven convention centered around comic books, pop culture and the likes similar to that of large conventions such as Dragon*Con or San Diego Comic Con. Held annually in Pensacola, Florida at the Pensacola Bay center, the arena was transformed into a geek mecca with actors, comic book illustrators, and plenty more.
On Friday we made our way to Pensacola arriving midafternoon where we met up with Bobby Clark, the Gorn Captain from Star Trek the Original Series. After catching up with Bobby, we proceeded to explore much of the facility and see what the convention had in store. Inside the arena there are three levels of entertainment; and much like those larger conventions programming for Pensacon takes place throughout various buildings in downtown Pensacola. On each level of the arena, you can find celebrities such as Giancarlo Esposito, best known for his role on Breaking Bad and recently The Mandalorian, Charles Martinet the voice of Super Mario, and we also saw George Takei.
Inside the Coliseum itself is the vendor area on the 1st floor with a variety of authors and comic book artists peppered throughout the concourse of the second floor. It did not matter what kind of artwork you were looking for you were sure to find something in that area. One of the more unique things that we saw was that of a small orchestra showcasing a variety of instrumental hits of a variety of film and television shows.
It is no secret that the Pensacola Bay center is not set up directly for that of a convention like Pensacon. For years, the staff of the convention have lobbied the county to build a new facility that can host trade shows, conventions, and other multi use events. With the record-breaking crowd attending this year it only shows evidence that the continued growth of Pensacon will bring the need for such a facility to be built. The economic impact of such a convention provides tourism dollars that brings funds into local businesses, restaurants, and hotels. In an area where tourism is a major player in the economy the decision to build a facility will be best on many fronts and enable the convention to continue to grow throughout the next few years.
Having not attended a real convention in almost two years it was great to see that so many people had decided to return to what is considered normal for those of us who enjoy attending conventions. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to see that there was a crowd as silly as that may sound. To see families and individuals enjoying themselves really brought a smile to my face and solidified the fact that these types of events are important for everyone.
I’ll wrap this article up by mentioning that in addition to attending Pensacon the weekend geeks recorded its first ever YouTube video with the Gorn Captain and our post wrap up of the convention. We’re hoping that this will be the start of a long and lustrous career of providing great content for those who enjoy fandom. Our next convention will be in Biloxi, Mississippi for CoastCon. This is one of the oldest conventions that I know about and probably the oldest in The United states.
Pensacon returns to Pensacola, Florida February 24-26, 2023; find out more at www.pensacon.com.