Zozobra organizers reflect on this year’s burning

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SANTA FE, N.M. – Old Man Gloom went up in flames in front of thousands of people at Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe and it was the first time a crowd was able to watch Zozobra burn since the pandemic.

Last year’s event had to go virtual. This year the tickets were capped at 10,000.

"You know I think it went great, I want to reserve judgement for about two weeks. We want to see what the numbers in Santa Fe look like, we did have about 15,000 folks in the field,” said Ray Sandoval, event chair of Zozobra.

The event normally draws about 60,000 guests. This time people had to show poof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

"From the drone footage it looked like people really respected spaces and families and friends clustering together and then there were spaces in between other groups of people,” said Sandoval.

This year it was the 1980s — and next year Zozobra will have a 1990s theme as part of the ongoing decades project, leading up to the 100th anniversary in 2024.

"We really hope that by next year at this time, we can welcome a full crowd and that way everyone can participate in getting rid of their gloom. These last two years have been very very gloomy, so I think it’s accumulating and I hope that for a brief moment on Friday night we took away some of that gloom from folks,” said Sandoval.