Burning Old Man Gloom never gets old

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The 2018 version of Zozobra, like all his predecessors, is doomed to go up in smoke. The burning is at Fort Marcy Park tonight. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

It’s time to burn him, again.

After a rough patch several years ago, when people were getting tired of rising ticket prices and overly elaborate productions of the burning of Zozobra, Santa Fe’s annual cleansing-by-fire has come back as a beloved, and maybe even too popular, ritual.

Organizers, led by the indefatigable Ray Sandoval, are expecting 65,000 people to show up tonight and watch our 50-foot puppet be consumed by flames for the 94th time.

It’s difficult to see how that many people can fit into the Fort Marcy ball park and adjacent Magers Field. But Sandoval keeps trying to find ways to make getting into and out of the space easier. He says that last year, people were passing through security at a rate of 2,000 people per minute. A new viewing platform has been added for people in wheelchairs.

Efforts will be made to point people to a variety of exits when it comes time to leave, intended to reduce the inevitable cow-herd traffic jam that still takes place at the main exit, despite the expansive width of the new (as of last year) bridge that crosses the arroyo between the two fields.

Our advice: Just go, be cooperative and have a good time. Yell “Burn him!” as loud and for as long as you can before Zozobra gets lit.

The editorial position of this newspaper is that you can never see Zozobra too many times.

Those who say they have become blasé about this fantastic creation of artist Will Schuster are miscreants who are just too cool. They’ve also probably stopped listening to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Mozart, too.

Don’t think about Zozobra too much, or try to assess the artistic merits of a particular year’s torching.

The idea is to let things go, your troubles or the world’s, for a few moments. Let them out with shouts and see them going up in smoke.

It wouldn’t be true to say that this year we need Zozobra more than ever. He’s been around for a world war, after all. But we definitely do need him these days.

Santa Fe is the only place in the world to see Zozobra burn. So get out and join the huge community of Zozoheads. Take advantage of our unique local spectacle.

You’ll feel better, at least for a little while.

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