By Jay Pham, Donny West, Lindsi Hicks and Becca Carlson
*This article originally appeared on the ecorsair.com in March 2018.
There’s no doubt that Pensacon is growing exponentially with each year. Organizers are finding new ways to improve the event for con-goers and making it more appealing for celebrity guests.
Pensacola State College students showed up and showed out for the annual convention of all things sci-fi, fantasy, anime and comic related.
Things flowed pretty smoothly on all three days for the more than 30,000 expected attendees.
The event which took over the downtown area including the Bay Center, Grand Hotel, the Rex, the Saenger and Pensacola Little Theatre has also expanded to most (if not all) of the businesses on or around that area.
The weather was perfect allowing cosplayers to strut their stuff in comfort and style. Those who chose not to purchase a pass to the event locations could easily feel included in the celebration by simply strolling down Palafox or partaking in the after hours festivities.
Image 1: Ian Lipford, a botany major, came back for a second year.
“I’m going to be Sir Richard from ‘Monty Python Knights of the Holy Grail,’” Lipford said. “The floor is pretty crowded– kind of overwhelming, but you gotta love it.”
Image 2 : This was Austin Rowe’s, a theatre major, second time at Pensacon. Rowe brought girlfriend, Veronica Lindholm, also a theatre major, for her first time.
“Yeah, it’s fantastic,” Rowe said.
“[Austin] says it’s epic so I’m excited,” Lindholm said.
Image 3: Megan Ellis dressed as Clarke from the CW’s “100.” She is a repeat Pensacon goer.
Image 4: Crowds gather outside of the Bay Center on Saturday, Feb. 24.
Image 5&6: The vendor floor is packed with con-enthusiast purchasing merchandise.
Image 7: Marcus Mogle, a PSC alum, graduated in 2012. He cosplayed as a dwarf fighter.
Image 8: Teewon Dahn studies elementary education and volunteered at Pensacon this year. This was her first time at the event.
“I heard it’s amazing. When I’m not on a shift here, I will probably be out exploring. I have met a few of the celebrities, so that was pretty cool. They were nice,” Dahn said.
Image 9: Virginia Burton, a cosmetology student, has been to Pensacon every year. Burton went as three different versions of Cheryl Blossom from “Riverdale” each day.
“I’m seeing a lot more cosplayers than last year, which is cool. I never know what to expect for any of the years,” Burton said. “Sometimes they can get crazy. Sometimes you get your lulls where there’s not a lot going on. The best time to go to the vendor floor is when the panels going on, because a lot of people are going to the panels and the floors are clear.”
Image 10: Con-goers purchase “merch” from vendors such as this Mario Mystery Box.
Megan Ellis, who dressed as Clarke from the CW’s “100,” is a repeat Pensacon goer. She thinks event coordinators have done a good job this year improving the overall organization.
“It’s a lot more digitized, the apps, volunteers, everything is online so it’s a lot easier to manage your way through everything. There’s a lot less hiccups,” Ellis said.
Ellis was especially excited about the John Barrowmen Q&A. You may know him from show like “Torchwood,” “Doctor Who” and “Arrow.”
“He’s just an amazing person and he’s really into his fans. He’s not like a celebrity who’s off in the distance– he wants to get in and talk to you. That was probably my favorite thing about this weekend.”
Other celebrities that caught her eye were Brent Spiner, Jason Isaacs and Sean Patrick Flanery.
“We went and talked to Sean Patrick Flanery from Boondocks Saints 1 & 2 for about 20 – 30 minutes and he literally just talked about utter nonsense and it was amazing. I hugged him before I left,” she said. “You can talk to them because they’re real people. A lot of people have been childhood heroes and it’s good to finally meet them off the screen.”
Ellis encourages con-goers to take advantage of the many celebrity panels that Pensacon offers.
“These panels are really good because with the Q&A’s you can ask them anything and everything. Pensacon is getting way better at getting more popular people and more dynamic in who they invite.”