Zozobra chairman promises new, exciting take on this year's event

Posted at: 08/21/2014 6:48 PM
Updated at: 08/21/2014 6:56 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

He's a changed man, but he's still going to burn.

Preparations are under way for this year's burning of Zozobra in Santa Fe. The big event is coming up next Friday night to kick off Labor Day weekend. We got a sneak peek at the legendary "Old Man Gloom" in a secure location near the Santa Fe rail yard.

Zozobra is a few feet taller this year – 50' 2" to be precise – and he's not wearing that weird dress this year! You can see his legs for the first time, and there's something new about the giant puppet's face that we're going to keep secret as long as we can, in a self-confessed conspiracy with Zozobra event chairman Ray Sandoval.

"The biggest difference is Friday night," Sandoval said. "Zozobra makes a triumphant return to Friday night after years of Thursday night burnings. It's not the Friday night a lot of people wanted, which is Fiesta Friday night, but it's Labor Day Friday night, and we're very excited to bring Zozobra back to Friday night."

As usual, the big creep will be stuffed with paper reminders of a year's worth of negativity – tax bills, parking tickets, Dear John letters, divorce papers, eviction notices and pink slips.  Proceeds from the event always go to good deeds by the Santa Fe Kiwanis Club and Kiwanis International. They're talking scholarships, aid to needy families, and neo-natal tetanus vaccinations worldwide.

"The fireworks show is going to be, we promise, the biggest fireworks show that New Mexico has ever seen," Sandoval said. "We're gonna bring down the house!"

Oh yes, there's another difference we need to tell you about.  For the first time since the 1920's Zozobra will be shirtless! But don't get any ideas – that's not a wardrobe option for people in the crowd. Ladies and gents, this is not Mardi Gras; there are no beads, and you could get arrested!