So Pensacon 2014 is behind us with the upper limits of organizers' predictions being reached, the Pensacola Bay Center floor reaching capacity several times Saturday, and downtown nightlife establishments reporting a busy weekend.
Later this week Visit Pensacola, who collected data during the convention, will have hard numbers to put on this impact but as the memories of Pensacon start to fade I chatted with Manda Manning, part of the Pensacon team, about the challenges and successes of the weekend and what we can look forward to next year.
She emphasized the power of getting a strong team together to make the event the success that it was. She described it as, "[a] Surreal experience- we’ve been planning for a year and being there and experiencing it was surreal and rewarding. Started off Friday, was a learning curve, setting everything up, nerves were high. By the end of the day seeing everyone happy and things ran smoothly Saturday and Sunday."
Attendees had mostly positive things to say even when there were wrinkles due to greater-than-expected numbers or weather problems. Manning said she was particularly proud that many of the celebrity guests commented on how well everything went and how hospitable they found Pensacola.
Manning's advice for others who have dreams to bring something big to Pensacola?
I would say to always keep in mind: WHY are you doing this? Is it something you’re doing because you really believe it will benefit Pensacola? I think that the reason Pensacon was so successful because we wanted it to be something that will benefit Pensacola in the long run and will make a name for Pensacola.
Kudos to the team that pulled this together and created something special for downtown Pensacola. We will be back with an update on the economic impact at the end of the week. In the meantime experience Pensacon through the eyes of those who were there.