Yes, I attended my first ever comic convention in my hometown of Pensacola, Florida--Pensacon 2019--and felt just like Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Raj from the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory.
I wore a different costume each day of the 3-day con. For the uninitiated or unaware, this is known as cosplay, short for costume play, and many people take it so seriously that their costumes could double for movie and theater costumes.
When my mom told me there was a convention for science fiction people in Pensacola, I thought, "Yeah, I bet they get a couple hundred people max."
I was so wrong.
This year's event saw an attendance of 30,000. The con partnered with several local businesses, such as the historic Saenger Theatre, the downtown Ritz theater, the Pensacola Little Theater, and the historic Grand Hotel, as well as the civic center, to host event activities in order to accommodate the large number of attendees.
The highlight of the con for me was getting to see William Shatner (Captain Kirk from Star Trek) speak at the Saenger. For an octogenarian, he's still quite spry and quick witted and kept the audience laughing with his humorous stories.
Other highlights include seeing Summer Glau (Firefly), a Raiders of the Lost Ark cast reunion (minus Harrison Ford), a Disney Princess and voice artist panel with Paige O'Hara (Belle/Beauty & the Beast), Linda Larkin (Jasmin/Aladdin) the actress who voiced Pocohontas (I think her first name is Irene, but her last name eludes me), along with 2 men who voiced characters in other Disney films...all at the Saenger.
I also attended an encore performance of songs by the local cast of The Evil Dead: the Musical (hilarious!), a horror short-film festival screening, several interesting panels on D.C. comic characters, cosplay wigs, silly monsters from the movies, stereotypes in comic books, comic book artists' work styles and even a Disney pin-trading meet up.
And then there was the vendor floor which took over the entire civic center. Even though these conventions are called comic cons, they're for all the speculative genres in comics, movies, books, theater and TV shows, i.e., science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Of course, before the con, I'd resolved not to buy any merchandise. But I discovered some artists whose work really spoke to me, and next thing I knew, I was loaded up with enamel pins, artwork prints and even a comic-book-themed adult coloring book, and a few freebies to boot.
So will I attend again?
You betcha! Pensacon 2020 or bust!
[February 28-March 1, 2020]
Daily cosplay below: Hogwarts Slytherin student, Indiana Jones, and Minnie Mouse