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Pensacon 2021 Announces New Dates, Returns May 21-23

Georgia Barrett

After a couple of weeks of looking at schedules and venue availability, new dates were announced Monday morning for Pensacon 2021.

Earlier this month, Pensacon announced it was postponing their annual event due to COVID and other concerns. Founder and CEO Mike Ensley told WUWF News at the time that they hoped to find dates later in the year that would work for everyone involved. “One of the things about Pensacon is that we’re so spread out across downtown (and) we have to work with so many venues" said Ensley. "So we’re working with them right now to try to find a date that can work for all of them.”

On Monday morning, those dates were announced. Pensacon 2021 is now set for May 21 through 23, the weekend before Memorial Day weekend.

“Obviously we use several venues in downtown Pensacola, so it was a matter of trying to coordinate with as many of them as possible for a date when they were all available, which is, of course, a challenge in the best of times. But even more so in this time because a lot of things are having to reschedule, and so there are only so many dates available,” said Julio Diaz, a spokesman and part of the executive staff of Pensacon.

Diaz says plans are underway to hold the event in the age of COVID.

“We will be requiring everyone to wear masks at all times within the Pensacon grounds whether is be inside or outside or on the trolleys. Anywhere when you’re inside the grounds you will need to wear a mask. We will have a designated food court area, where people can take their mask off to eat and drink in a distanced manner. So that will be the most obvious, the most visual (difference from previous years) than anything else. We’ll have sanitizer stations posted throughout the convention at all venues, and we will be implementing social distancing processes pretty much at all the venues. So you can probably count on some of the panel venues that you are used to maybe having less available seating than you might be used to. We’re still working all the details of that out with all of the venues.”

Pensacon officials will also be paying close attention to regulating the number of people on the vendor floor at the Bay Center during the con.

Before the postponement Pensacon had already booked dozens of celebrities and artists as guests for the convention. Right now, it looks like those bookings are safe.

“Right now, I’m pleased to say that we haven’t had a single cancellation," said Diaz. "That may change, but as of right now, as far as we know, everybody that was scheduled to come is still coming.”

Since it began on 2014, Pensacon has grown into one of the most anticipated annual events in the region, drawing as many as 30 thousand people from the local area and from across the country. People who have already bought tickets to this year’s event have a couple of options.

“If you’ve already bought your tickets, they’ve already been rolled over (to) the May dates, so you can use them on the May dates. But if you don’t, they will automatically roll over to 2022. We expect to be back in February in 2022 in our normal time period. So, you have the option of waiting until next year if that’s what (you’d prefer).”

More information about tickets, venues and safety protocols at this year’s event can be found at pensacon.com

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.