Pensacon postponed over COVID-19 concerns

Northwest Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — As COVID-19 cases in Escambia County continue to rise, Pensacon announced Friday the convention would be postponed until at least summer. 

The comic book and pop-culture convention, which draws more than 30,000 people to Pensacola each year, was originally scheduled for Feb. 26-28. 

“We thought we might be able to do this. We’ve been planning for months with different ideas of how to use face masks and sanitizer and social distancing and all the things that have been recommended, but looking at everything, we don’t want to give people half the experience,” said Mike Ensley, CEO and founder of Pensacon. “So, we think it’s just better for us to postpone for a few months and hopefully we’ll be able to do something better then.” 

Dates have not been set as of Friday for the summer convention. Ensley said the lineup of celebrity guests could change due to the convention being rescheduled, but the decision could allow for more high-profile celebrities to make an appearance. 

It also allows the Grand Hotel near the Pensacola Bay Center time to reopen after being shuttered for repairs to damage sustained during Hurricane Sally. The hotel serves an important role in the convention and is where many of the guests and celebrities stay during Pensacon weekend. 

It’s expected to open back up in May, Ensley said. 

After the announcement was made on Pensacon’s Facebook page, several fans of the convention posted they were disappointed they’d have to wait until summer to dress in their cosplay, but most understood the decision. 

“It’s been an overwhelming outpouring of support today which has touched me personally because this a big deal to me,” Ensley said. “We’re thinking about people’s safety.”

One of those people is William Miller, who is often seen at the convention wearing inflatable costumes. Miller said he believes postponing Pensacon is the right call. 

“I think many celebrity guests and artists might have a harder time getting down here and might not be so inclined to come to a convention and might have to back out,” he said. “So, having it a later date when things get better does give better opportunities than having it in February.” 

Ensley said he doesn’t expect it will take long for the convention’s new dates to come out. We will update you when it is announced.

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