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Local News

Pensacon 2015 Takes Off This Weekend

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After months of planning, Pensacon 2015 is ready to go this weekend.

"We just want to take over Pensacola" said Mike Ensley, the Founder and Chairman of Pensacon. Although he’s thinking big, Mike Ensley is surprisingly calm. This is the second year of the three day convention for fans of science fiction, comic books, video games, costuming or cosplaying, tv, movies, books and anything else where imagination and fun are the most important elements. "Everybody's flights are booked, people's hotel rooms are booked, they're excited to be here".

The preparations had to be massive.  Last year, Pensacon drew 15 thousand fans in its first year. This year, that number is set to double. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward says "30 thousand people descending on your town is powerful". The mayor recognizes the economic impact this event has on the community, especially during the so-called "shoulder season". Hayward says it's events like this that helps make the region a more year round tourist destination.

And the community has embraced the event. Mike Ensley says that while the main activities will be at the Bay Center and the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the entire downtown has become a part of the con. He says it was exciting to see the county, the city and "everybody coming on board this year". Palafox Street will be closed downtown on the Saturday night of the convention.

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One major addition this year is some of the more popular events have been moved to the Saenger Theater. Last year many of the popular events at Pensacon had to turn fans away because the rooms weren’t large enough to accommodate all the fans who wanted to watch. Especially the costume contest, which was held in a room with 400 people and as many as 400 had to be turned away.  This year the Saenger will host the contest on Saturday night.

There is no additional charge for events at the Saenger. Ensley also says fans who bought 3 day weekend passes can pick them up Thursday evening beginning at 6 at the Crowne Plaza. VIP passes can be picked up at the Fish House also at 6pm on Thursday. There will also be more registration stations at the Bay Center on the days of the event than last year…and they will open early, at 11am on Friday and 8am Saturday and Sunday. That’s 2 hours before doors open.

Parking will be around downtown and will be operated the same as all large events. Pensacon will be operating trolleys to take people around town to the various locations at no charge.

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And one more piece of advice from Mike Ensley..."just get a lot of rest, stay hydrated, get ready to have a great time.