The Burning of Zozobra is a unique cultural event staged annually by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe on the Friday of Labor Day weekend as an exciting and fiery finale to the last days of summer.
Zozobra is the creation of Will Shuster, one of a group of artists known as the Cinco Pintores, who made their way to New Mexico in the 1920s. Shuster’s creation first appeared in his backyard in 1924 as a six-foot puppet, and over the years, has grown to a towering 50-foot high marionette. Today, the people of New Mexico, families and friends, visitors new and old, have annually made their way to Fort Marcy Park, a few blocks from the historic Santa Fe Plaza, to view this one-of-a-kind Labor Day Friday pageant.
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 and part monster. People from around the world use an online portal to submit their "glooms" - woes and worries that have cast doubt and despair - which are then printed on paper and added to the effigy to go up in smoke. Under a sky lit by celebratory fireworks, the fiery pageant annually vanquishes the year's gloom so that happiness and hope can return to the city and state of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe became the pageant officials responsible for Zozobra when his creator, artist Will Shuster, assigned all rights to the Club in 1964. To this day, the Club retains all the exclusive copyrights and trademarks to the figure. As the major fundraiser for the nonprofit Santa Fe Kiwanis, Zozobra has become a welcome and entertaining opportunity for the citizens of New Mexico –– and visitors from around the globe –– to participate in a community service event whose net proceeds benefit the children of New Mexico via grants and fun and educational activities.
The Burning of Will Shuster's Zozobra
- 490 Bishops Lodge Road
- Santa Fe, NM 87501
- Fort Marcy Park
- General Admission $15 advance/$20 of day of event (Kids 10 & Under free). Express Admission $20 advance/$25 on day of event. Six Premium Viewing Areas $60-$250 advance, $65-$250 day of event.