Burning of Zozobra | Major Events in Santa Fe New Mexico | Things to do in Santa Fe | SantaFe.com

For one hundred years, this unique cultural event has drawn families and friends from near and far, to watch as evil is vanquished for another year during this one-of-a-kind Labor Day pageant. The 100th Burning of Will Shuster’s Zozobra takes place at Fort Marcy Park, on Friday, August 30, 2024, starting at 4 p.m.

A (Very) Brief History of Zozobra

Made of wood, wire, and cotton cloth and stuffed with hundreds of bags of shredded paper, Zozobra is a dark and eerie character, part ghost, part monster, and full enemy of all that is good. The creation of Will Shuster, one of Los Cinco Pintores, a group of artists who set up shop in Santa Fe in the 1920s, it began as a 6-foot effigy burned in his backyard.

Over the years, it grew in both size and significance, until Will handed over all rights to the Kiwanis Club in 1964. It now welcomes visitors from around the globe to participate in a community service event that benefits children through grants and educational activities.

According to official lore, the doom-and-gloom specter is recreated annually to restore balance to the city and its residents. In order to lure Zozobra out of hiding, the city leaders invite him to a party he believes is being held in his honor. With his enormous ego urging him on, Zozobra accepts the invitation, recognizing it as his best opportunity to invade the heart of town, destroy all happiness and rob the city of its most precious possession: hope.

Eager to embark upon his sinister plans, the account continues, Zozobra becomes disgruntled as he’s kept waiting, so he casts a spell over the children of Santa Fe, turning them into his minions, the Gloomies. When Zozobra realizes he’s been duped, he lets loose the Gloomies to wreak havoc on the city, but before they can begin, a group of brave townsfolk arrive bearing torches, and call forth the Fire Spirit to vanquish him. The Gloomies are released from their trance, the crowd dances joyfully as Zozobra collapses into a smoking pile of embers, and all is well in the world again for another year.

Pre-show Fun to Get You Ready For Zozobra

You can get your first look at this year’s Zozobra, in all his gloomy glory at ZozoFest on Saturday, August 24, 2024, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, August 25, from 1 a.m. – 4 p.m., at Santa Fe Place Mall in the space next to Boot Barn on the western end of the Mall.  Be sure to show your stuff by wearing your vintage Zozobra tees as you enjoy a musical tour through the century of Zozobra’s life thanks to DJ Sin. But that’s not all. You can also take selfies with Zozobra photobombing you over your shoulder, stuff your glooms inside him to make your worries go up in smoke when he gets torched, and get first dibs on this year’s one-of-a-kind Zozobra art.

Old Man Gloom will be on display throughout the weekend, and this weekend is also your last chance to score Zozobra gear in person and save on shipping changes until Zozobra Day, Friday, August 30, 2024, at Fort Marcy Park. You can check out the Zozobra Art Exhibit and make your own art at the free craft tables. You’ll also be able to meet the 2024 Zozobra artists and have 2024 poster artist Robb Rael sign your poster.

The Zozobra Day festivities start with live entertainment when the gates open at 4 p.m., on Friday, August 30, 2024. The official Zozobra pageant begins at 7 p.m., when you will be welcomed by celebrity host, actor Michael Peña, and enjoy the pageantry until the dramatic battle ensues between Zozobra and his immortal foe, the Fire Spirit . For more information, visit the website, or call 855-969-6272.

To get the full story about the Burning of Zozobra and how it came to be, visit the website here.

This article was posted by Olivia

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