Ray Sandoval wants out-of-town visitors to have fun after Zozobra, and he put a big effort into making that happen this year.
Sandoval, the third-year Zozobra event chairman for the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, said many visitors the club polled after last year’s burning said they enjoyed the event but were disappointed about not being able to grab a meal or a drink in the downtown area afterward. Many of those visitors said they wouldn’t return as a result.
Sandoval blamed misconceptions about the event for making downtown businesses wary of staying open late to accommodate patrons, especially since the event moved to Friday last year. The event had been held on Fridays for years, until a man was shot and killed after the burning in 1998, prompting officials to move the event to the Thursday before the Santa Fe Fiesta. Fear of a similar incident may keep businesses from opening their doors.