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Pensacon 2017 Blasts Off This Weekend

Pensacon has become an annual tradition for thousands of people in the region in a short time. This year marks the convention’s fourth year and Pensacon Founder and CEO Mike Ensley says it continues to grow. "Ticket sales are trending upward, so that's a good sign. And we've added that fifth venue so we've got so many places downtown taking part in this now. I think it's going to be a great weekend."

That fifth venue is the Pensacola Little Theater, which will host various celebrity panels and other presentations over the weekend. It joins the Bay Center, The Grand Hotel, The Rex Theater and the Saenger Theater as Pensacon continues to increase its footprint in downtown. Ensley says the celebrity guests are still the big draw. "We've got a good selection of Walking Dead guests [this year] headlined by Scott Wilson, who was Herschel on the Walking Dead. I think Henry Winkler was a great addition! I think people were really excited about that. I think he crosses so many generations and has had a great, stellar career. [Also] those guys from the CW DC shows [like] Michael Rowe and John Westly Shipp and Matt Ryan." Ensley also says the writers and artists from comics and novels are a big draw every year.

Other guests include Walter Koenig from the original Star Trek, Gates McFadden from Star Trek The Next Generation, Terry Farrell and Rene Auberjonois from Deep Space 9, as well as guests from the X-Files, Star Wars, the Harry Potter movies, and Doctor Who. The addition of the Pensacola Little Theater as a venue this year means changes at the Bay Center. "The floor of the Bay Center will obviously be our vendor area which it has always been. On the second floor we used to hold panels on one side and celebrities on the other. Now we are putting celebrities [on both sides]." Those smaller, fan based panels which used to be held in the Bay center will now be moved over to the Grand Hotel while all celebrity panels will be held at the Rex, Saenger or Pensacola Little Theater.

Ensley says the Pensacon trolleys will be running again this year to take people with Pensacon passes around town to the various venues free of charge. And many of the bars and restaurants are having Pensacon themed specials and parties throughout the weekend, including Friday evening which will be gallery night downtown. Pensacon 2017 is this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout downtown Pensacola. Activities begin Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10. 

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.