It’s been almost 500 years since Spanish explorer Don Tristan De Luna and his army of shipmates first glimpsed the sugar-white sand and turquoise water in Pensacola. This month, a different sort of army will descend on Pensacola’s sun-drenched shores. But don’t be alarmed. These visitors are more likely to cruise into town on a starship than a Spanish galleon, and they aren’t likely to be decked out in battle armor — unless they’re posing as a storm trooper, that is. Pensacon 2015 — Pensacola’s annual celebration of all things nerdy — will kick off Feb. 27 and run through March 1, bringing along with it a full roster of celebrity guests, fandom-themed parties and reveling cosplayers. Last year’s inaugural event brought roughly 11,000 people to the Pensacola Bay Center, Crowne Plaza Pensacola Grand Hotel and dozens of downtown venues. This year is expected to be bigger and better — with event organizers forecasting as many as 30,000 attendees. Among the celebrities scheduled to make an appearance are Nichelle Nichols, (“Lt. Uhura”), and Marina Sirtis, (“Counsellor Troi”), from the original “Star Trek” television series; Colin Baker, the sixth “Doctor Who”; four “Game of Thrones” actors including Finn Jones, otherwise known as Ser Loras Tyrell; veteran actor David Warner, “Battlestar Galactica’s” Herbert Jefferson, and many more. In addition to the excitement on the convention floor, a number of downtown Pensacola businesses plan to host their own themed parties. The Fish House family of restaurants — located just four blocks from the convention —will host one of the biggest, welcoming attendees with five days of live music, costume contests, themed drink specials and more. Beginning Wednesday, Feb. 25, the Fish House will be transformed into Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, complete with potions, quidditch, wands and a real Diagon Alley. Next door, the Atlas Oyster House will be recreated as King’s Landing from “Game of Thrones” — featuring swords, mini thrones, crowns and dragons. Lastly, the Fish House Deck Bar will make way for the world of Star Trek — including a life-size, authentic Borg movie prop; original translights from the deck of the Starship Enterprise; and a Holodeck. If you want to get in on the excitement of Pensacon it would be wise to act quickly — VIP passes for the weekend have already sold out, but regular weekend passes still are available for $70, and single-day tickets start at $30. *Those who purchase a weekend pass before Feb. 26 at 8 a.m. will be entered into a drawing to win two “golden tickets” good for a host of exclusive benefits, including the ability to bypass lines at all venues and events, a behind-the-scenes tour of the convention from Pensacon staff, three free celebrity autographs, a private photo-opp with the celebrity of their choice, and a bundle of free convention merchandise. The Crowne Plaza Pensacola Grand Hotel — which will host the weekend’s festivities — is offering rooms at the discounted rate of $129 per night. Enter the code “CON” when making reservations to secure the discount. Other Downtown Pensacola hotels will also offer special rates for convention-goers. For a list of hotels, or to buy your tickets today, visit