The second annual Pensacon is an event which brings over ten thousand visitors to Pensacola, FL to celebrate science fiction, comic books, and related things.
Entertainment: ✩✩✩✩ (4/5)
Visitor Information: ✩✩ (2/5)
Value for the Money: ✩✩✩ (3/5)
Compared to the size of this community, the event is quite remarkable. There are some significant stars for those wanting to meet celebrities, some talented artists for those so inclined, and plenty of cool items for sale on the convention floor. Cosplay is in full effect as well, with a good mix of superhero, anime, and video game characters milling about in the crowd. There are many side events going on around the city in support of the main convention for the weekend and beyond.
Unfortunately, the venue, while labeled a convention center, is actually a sports complex. Nearly all the space is covered in stadium seating, leaving a crowded floor for the actual event. While walking from the parking lot, you must go up and down ramps and stairs to the far side of the building to get in. This is after figuring it out on your own, as there was no signs and often volunteers gave conflicting instructions on where to go. To get to the convention floor, you had to wait in line (well, in stadium seats) until your section was called. The building was far too crowded, and if it was raining, everyone would be soaked from having to walk around the building to get inside.
At $40 for Saturday, this event cost more than Megacon in Orlando, which is one of the largest in the United States. Which isn’t to say that this is unfair. The event is in that grey are between a small time convention and a really big one. Tragically, the city doesn’t have a bigger venue, so Pensacon is doomed to be “in-between” for the foreseeable future.
It is pricey, but I think it is worth the time and money. You have to be patient and bring some friends to make it fun and pass the time in the lines. The artists are easily approachable (they are not on the convention floor) and there is plenty to do and see outside the convention itself.
Bookmark their site and make room on your calendar for next year. Check out the links at the bottom of the page for artists.
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