Spooky Empire, a staple in Central Florida’s growing con scene, is leaving Orlando! Fear not though, “the dark side of Comic Con” isn’t going very far. This year from October 31-November 3, 2019 Spooky will be hosted in Tampa; taking over The Tampa Convention Center and partnering with host hotels along the Tampa Riverwalk. In an email interview with Marco Santana of the Orlando Sentinel Pete Mongelli, Director and CEO of Spooky Empire, said that the move was absolutely necessary. “We would have been busting at the seams if we stayed there. We needed a much larger space.” Given our experiences at recent events we are inclined to agree. Spooky is hands down one of our favorite cons here at CosplayFame, and the love for Pete and Gina runs deep, but our last two meetings with the powercouple were a bit crowded to say the least. Attracting more than 15,000 guests over the weekends, both the Wyndham Resort (April ‘18), and the Caribe Royale (Oct ‘18) struggled to accommodate the growing crowds eager to get their shriek on. Following multiple social-media debacles from distant parking, long lines, and the infamous “Funkogate”; Spooky is working hard to ensure that their vendors, guests, and attendees all have the best experience possible.
Started in 2003 as Screamfest back in Fort Lauderdale Spooky Empire was a south Florida exclusive until taking over I-Drive in 2007; since then Orlando has been the official-unofficial home of Spooky for over a decade. The decision to move wasn’t about a desire to leave Orlando, or an overall lack of space for this event, but rather a lack of available space. Several of Orlando’s largest hotels and convention centers have been booked up by other major groups including Microsoft this season, specifically the User Group Summit (Oct 13-18) and Microsoft Ignite (Nov 4-8) events are hindering Spooky’s options for an adequate venue. While we all certainly hope to see the Mongellis return to Orange County soon, tourism groups such as Visit Orlando are making efforts to try and ensure that they come back as quickly as possible. This could also mean a potential shake-up amid some of the Orlando-based vendors and exhibitors who may have a hard time securing transportation out to The Big Guava. We wish Spooky all the best for what will certainly be a unique convention, and we will keep you true believers posted on any news and updates as they become available to us.