Hundreds left feeling burned after Zozobra lights up Old Man Gloom early
September 01, 2018 05:53 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Old Man Gloom may have fulfilled its annual rite and gone up in flames Friday in Santa Fe, but some would-be attendees at the annual Zozobra are still feeling the gloom after being unable to enter the event, despite buying a ticket.
In a statement by event Chair Ray Sandoval, he apologized to those who were unable to get past the gates at the event. At the same time, Sandoval said rumors that organizers oversold tickets for Zozobra "are blatantly untrue," despite what many Zozobra hopefuls are saying online.
At the end of what had been a rainy day, Sandoval said organizers made the "measured decision to start the show early" with a second storm on the horizon.
The webpage for this year's event says the burning was to start at about 9:33 p.m. It ended up starting about 20 minutes prior.
That earlier start time led to a slower check-in process, Sandoval said, and, eventually, hundreds of people were not allowed to enter the event even after going through the security checkpoint. On various videos posted to social media, some people can be seen scaling walls trying to get into the park.
On Facebook, in response to organizers' statement, many said they were told by police after they bought tickets that the outdoor event was overfilled.
(1/2) The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe is apologizing this morning after hundreds of people missed seeing #Zozobra burn. This is video I took of people trying to climb over a wall because police blocked the entrance after these ticket holders went through the security checkpoint. pic.twitter.com/I8T0vrepQu— Kai Porter (@KaiPorterKOB) September 1, 2018
"This along with the rain, long wait I'm (sic) line to get past security and finally get past the security only to be disappointed by the denial of entry to Fort Marcy Park was very disappointing," Ng Mach wrote on Facebook. "I can say there were a few hundred people in the same situation."
Others still said they managed to arrive early to get a good spot and attend the event; thousands were at Fort Marcy Park when Old Man Gloom burned up.
"We traveled from Texas and had a great time, even with the rain," Ruth Reynolds wrote on Facebook, with another user adding the event was "awesome, as always."
Sandoval emphasized that safety was their number one priority when considering the event's start time.
"The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe's Board of Directors will be meeting on Sunday morning to provide a path forward for those who were left out in the storm," he is quoted as saying in the release, saying those could take the form of complimentary tickets for Zozobra 2019, a poster of the 2018 event or a ticket refund.
Those details are expected to be announced Tuesday after the Labor Day holiday.
Updated: September 01, 2018 05:53 PM
Created: September 01, 2018 11:57 AM
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