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After A Busy Weekend, Pensacon Looks Ahead to 2016

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There was a nice cheer from the crowd that was left at the Pensacola Bay Center late Sunday afternoon, as the Mike Ensley, the chairman of Pensacon announced the dates and the first confirmed guests for next year’s edition of the fan convention. 

Ensley says the fan convention will return next year on February 19 through the 21 to the Pensacola Bay Center, the Crowne Plaza Hotel and, hopefully, The Saenger Theater. The first announced guests are Peter Mayhew and David Prowse, who play Chewbacca the Wookie and Darth Vader on Star Wars.

Talking to Ensley late Sunday afternoon he said the number of people who attended this year’s convention exceed last year by a lot. He estimated the crowds at 6,500 of Friday, over 10,000 on Saturday and 4,500 on Sunday. The actual numbers will come in later this month as will the economic impact estimates for the area.

There were some issues on Saturday afternoon with the Fire Marshal and ticket sales had to be cut off because of the crowd. Ensley says they will be in talks with the city and the county to take care of those infrastructure issues, but he hopes a permanent solution comes soon saying, "we really think it's time for the city and the county to seriously start looking at a convention center for Pensacola. It's something that two studies done over the last ten years have recommended as the number one priority for our area."

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Credit Bob Barrett / WUWF News
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WUWF News
A pair of cosplayers at Pensacon

One of the big changes this year was the addition of the Saenger Theater as a Pensacon venue. Mike Ensley says it really helped spread Saturday’s crowd out all over town. He said over a thousand people saw the Pensacon costume contest on Saturday night; and some downtown merchants said this weekend was one of their biggest money makers ever, surpassing even Mardi Gras.

Ensley said the reaction from the vendors and visiting celebrities was almost universally positive. After a few days off, the conversations and planning for next year’s event will be under way. Pensacon 2016 is set to go February 19 through the 21st.