Pensacon organizers say event has outgrown Pensacola Bay Center

Photo: Thousands wait in line outside the Pensacola Bay Center for Pensacon 2018 Source: WEAR Jamarlo Phillips via Twitter (@JPhillipsTV)

Pensacola's biggest sci-fi/comic book convention is almost getting too big for its venue.

Aside from the lines outside of the Pensacola Bay Center, the line to get autographs and pictures spanned around the room.

Channel 3 spoke to several people waiting in those long lines.

"This is getting a little bit too small for the entire crowd that showed up," said Russel Davis.

"It has grown massively- they really need to build a bigger facility," Amy Boutwell said.

But the waiting didn't stop people from having fun.

There were tables and booths to keep them busy, and childhood heroes to talk to.

Pensacon founder Mike Ensley says each year the event grows in numbers.

Last year Pensacon attracted around 28,000 people. This year organizers expect that number to grow to more than 30,000 people.

"I think it's [been] outgrown the Bay Center, that's why we have like five different venues now," Ensley said.

Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill agrees.

"The space just doesn't work for how cool of a thing Pensacon is," Underhill said.

Underhill says a new facility is needed soon. He says wants the county to go back and reevaluate a study of the Bay Center.

"Let's build a facility where hockey doesn't prevent us from doing everything else," Underhill said.

He says there will never be a year where the Bay Center will cost less than the year before.

"It's $1.3 million a year that it costs us and it is only going to get worse. Remember we ended up having to give up three home games last week because the cooling structure underneath the floor broke," explained Underhill.

But for now, fans of sci-fi, comic books, and other pop culture can count on attending Pensacon for their chance to bring their favorite characters to life.

"Pensacola doesn't really have anything of any size comparable to this, so yes we will be back here next year," Ensley said.

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