A Weekend of Fun at SharkCon 2015
By Gene Muchanski
Southeast Dive News Correspondent
“Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Tampa…” That’s how Spencer Stewart, creator of SharkCon introduced SharkCon on their web site at www.shark-con.com
SharkCon is a weekend watersports festival for the general public, held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa Bay, Florida. Spencer Stewart planed this event for four years prior to launching it last year. Now in its second year, SharkCon is sponsored by The Florida Aquarium. It’s a local event that brings those who love the ocean and its creatures together for a weekend of education and fun. SharkCon has something for everyone who loves the ocean.
The second annual SharkCon was held on July 11-12, 2015. Over 7,000 attendees took part in the festivities and the place was crawling with Sharks, Mermaids, Pirates, and Giant Fluffy Sea Creatures. The exhibit hall was one of the main attractions for the adults consisting of 76 exhibit spaces and 56 exhibitors. There were plenty of activities for the kids like the bounce house, the great inflatable shark slide, face painting booths and a mechanical shark ride. And let’s not forget the giant sand box provided by the Florida Aquarium, although I did see a lot of parents playing in that particular attraction.
There was a 50 x 50 theater set up for slide shows, speakers and The Left Shark Dance Team to keep the attendees entertained on both days. SharkCon had two book signing tables and many of the 13 speakers took advantage of that space after their presentations. In total, there were 20 events planned in the theater on Saturday and Sunday and as a special treat for attendees on Sunday with two Weddings held in front of the Tampa Aquarium’s Megalodon World Famous Fossil Shark Jaw.
Dive Industry Association Members are always looking for opportunities to connect with the general public whether they are divers now or want to become divers. Local events like SharkCon are excellent opportunities for us to meet with our Members like Bill & Nadine Beard – Bill Beard’s Costa Rica, Ed Buckley – St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures, Debbie Helms – Roatan Charter, and Julie Illes World Dive Adventures.
SharkCon proved to be a good place to meet divers and people interested in becoming scuba divers according to Rock Bottom Divers of Dunnedin, FL and Sea Experience of Fort Lauderdale. Retail Dive Centers and Dive Operators interested in exhibiting next year can contact Spencer Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 941-539-0833.
Thanks to our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/divelocal we are able to post pictures and video of SharkCon 2015. Southeast Dive News readers can see our photo and video coverage of SharkCon 2015 at www.facebook.com/sedivenews