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Pensacola Airport Goes Intergalactic

Pensacola Intergalactic Airport

Pensacon 2015 is four weeks away and the City of Pensacola is already getting into the spirit.  Thursday morning at Pensacola International Airport, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward stood at a podium alongside Councilman at Large Charles Bare, Pensacon Chairman Mike Ensley, as well as Darth Vader, and issued a proclamation that officially changed the name of Pensacola International Airport to Pensacola Intergalactic Airport. The change, which was done in honor of Pensacon, will remain in effect until March 3.

Credit Bob Barrett
New Restroom signs at Pensacola "Intergalactic" Airport.

Pensacon 2015 is the second annual gathering for fans of science fiction, comic books, video games, anime and any other genre you can think of. It will be held at the Pensacola Bay Center and the Crowne Plaza Grand Hotel for three days beginning February 27.

After the announcement, airport staff were busy putting up signs inside and outside the terminal with the new name. Pensacon Chairman Mike Ensley says the plans for re-christening the airport began shortly after last year's event. Ensley said the airport staff went out of their way to help welcome visitors and celebrities last year and this year wanted to do more to promote the event.

Pensacon drew 15,000 fans in its inaugural year. This year, that number is expected to double. Ensley has been in the industry for awhile and says he has never seen such strong growth in a convention in such a short time. He credits the support of the fans, the city and the local business community.

Mayor Aston Hayward said he was pleasantly surprised when he took in Pensacon last year, saying he walked through the convention and the Bay Center was elbow to elbow with people. The mayor also pointed out that events like this in the off season makes a big difference for the city.

Credit Bob Barrett
Darth Vader and Mara Jade pose with Mayor Ashton Hayward and City Councilman Charles Bare

It's estimated that last year 39% of the people attending Pensacon were from out of town.  This year, organizers say that number will be closer to 60%.  Many of the celebrity guests have been announced with a few drop outs and replacements along the way. Chairman Mike Ensley says there are still some more big names to be announced, teasing that Star Trek fans should pay close attention over the next few days.