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Check out a new Santa Fe tradition

Our opinion this week is simple.

The editorial position of this newspaper is that anyone in Santa Fe who still hasn’t checked out the public New Year’s Eve celebration on the Plaza – Monday night’s event will be just the fourth – should brave the cold and do it.

This was the scene at Santa Fe’s first public New Year’s Eve celebration, as 2015 turned into 2016. This year’s fourth edition of the event is supposed to have better fireworks, a higher-rising Zia Sun and a public toast. (Mark Oswald/Journal)

The festivities attracted around 6,500 people last year and more are expected this time, depending on how people feel about the weather. The temperature at midnight will likely be in or near single digits, maybe with snow – perfect for standing around bonfires in a 400-year adobe-centric urban space with your friends, co-residents and assorted visitors.

In its short life, New Year’s Eve on the Plaza already has gained national attention. It’s low key. The Plaza draped in Christmas lights is a spectacular setting. A couple of local bands will play. There’s biscochitos and hot chocolate.

In its first year, as 2015 passed into 2016, the event had a very local, DIY vibe. The centerpiece Zia Sun symbol – chosen after Las Cruces got first dibs on having a chile drop for New Year’s – rose over the Catron Building, which was bathed in projected images of many colors.

The short ascent of the Zia symbol (yes, it goes up, not down, like community icons do in New Year’s Eve events elsewhere) was herky-jerky and slow. But, as the Journal reported at the time, the homemade quality made many in the crowd like it even more. This was a Santa Fe event, about as far away from Times Square as you could get.

Local celebration and fireworks master Ray Sandoval (he does Zozobra) is promising a much improved fireworks show Monday. The fireworks were hardly visible from the Plaza before, but Sandoval apparently has managed to solve safety issues and they will now blast off from a three-story-high section of La Fonda’s roof. The Zia will rise 80 feet, a new record.

Mayor Alan Webber is scheduled to lead a toast before midnight, after 3,000 mini-bottles of sparkling apple cider (non-alcoholic) are distributed.

Remember, mayor – keep it short. It’s going to be cold out there and those of us in the crowd will be anxious for the Zia to be raised and for fireworks to blow up.

So, locals, show up, find something to be thankful for amid the chaos of 2018 and wish for good things going forward.

And it’s a good idea to see this event now, before its crowd grows into Zozobra or Canyon Road farolito walk dimensions.

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