Winter is coming. And with it, PensaCon. I attended this February event for the first time in 2015 as a volunteer for the WordFire Press booth and had a blast. I plan to go back every year and recommend it highly to anyone who will listen. Why? Because the entire town embraced us. And I don’t mean that literally, although I’m sure some of the Pensacolians/Pensacolites (is that what they call themselves?) would. I mean that from the moment I arrived, I felt immersed in the event.
It’s the little things that make a huge difference.
A winter weekend with no snow and temps in the 70’s is a great thing. They renamed the airport to the Pensacola Intergalactic Airport. Gates became Stargates, each named for one of our genre’s iconic spaceships. Restaurants surrounding the Bay Center and hotels all had themes like Dr. Who, or Game of Thrones, or Star Wars. The proprietors developed special menus and even had their staff dress in costume. Where TVs were available, they played shows or movies to match the theme.
They hosted the event in the Pensacola Bay Center. I spent most of my time in the dealer area, which filled the arena floor. Booths upon booths, all the typical vendors, and artists, and wares. Authors could rent a table in the Writers Row. Events and panels ran every day. Celebrity signings/photos. You know, the typical Con events.
And then there were the people.
I think the Con boasted 12-14k attendees. Not huge, but not tiny. In my role as WordFire ambassador/book hawker/promo man, it seemed like I talked to most. Alright, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I spoke to lots and lots of people. Most had never been to a Con, but decided to try this one out. And guess what…they too had a blast. The townies came out in droves to what they thought was some radical geek-fest and loved it. Sweet!
They bought stuff…all the stuff. Attendees were happy. Vendors were happy. Celebrities were happy. Reports from authors in Writers Row were that sales were higher than expected. Some even sold out. Sounded like a win-win-win-win…how many…was that enough…not sure…here’s one more…WIN!
So let’s recap—a winter weekend in Florida doesn’t suck, the town embraces the economic windfall of the event and welcomes guest and attendees alike, attendees spend money, the people were super nice, and I got to talk writing and books and story with fellow authors and readers. My goodness, is there a better way to spens a weekend?
Here’s some important deets about Pensacon:
Where: Pensacola, FL
Venue: Pensacola Bay Center
When: February 19-21, 2016
- Attendees – $55/3-day pass
- Vendor Booth – $450-500
- Artist Alley – $200
- Writers Row – $200