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Zozobra draws in record audience, glooms

COVID or not, Zozobra still knows how to attract an audience.

Zozobra goes up in flames at Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe on Sept. 4. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

The annual burning of Will Shuster's Zozobra saw its largest audience, despite being a no-crowd event on Sept. 4.

In previous years, more than 60,000 revelers would pack Fort Marcy Park for the event. The 2020 virtual event was seen by 321,337 households as the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe teamed up with KOAT-TV to broadcast it.

Another high note: There were no COVID infections among show organizers.

“Kiwanis made a conscious decision to wait until a minimum of at least 14 days had passed before we shared the results of our event,” said Ray Sandoval, Zozobra event chair. “In that time, five of our event's essential workers —— three who volunteered and two chosen at random —— were tested for COVID-19, and we are gratified to report that all five tests were negative.”

Glooms, which were placed inside the marionette to be burned, also had a record number. There were 113,013 glooms submitted from people around the globe.

“Some even chose a specific spot to place their glooms inside the 50-foot effigy,” Sandoval said. “Even though Kiwanis was unable to welcome the typical 60,000-plus audience of revelers to witness the 96th Burning of Zozobra in person, our iconic tradition took place seamlessly and successfully. That was one huge pile of ashes for the history books!”

Zozobra also trended across social media platforms.

Facebook saw 129,000 engagements, while Twitter had 1,300 engagements and Instagram's reach was 7,800.

“People watched from everywhere —— there were watch parties in all 50 U.S. states and in 14 countries,” Sandoval said.

The 97th Burning of Zozobra is scheduled to take place Sept. 3, 2021.

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