Kiwanis Club Hears What It Takes To Produce Santa Fe’s Zozobra Event

Santa Fe Kiwanian Ray Sandoval tells local Kiwanis members about the annual Zozobra event. Courtesy photo

Los Alamos Kiwanis Club

Ray Sandoval, a Santa Fe Kiwanian who runs the annual Zozobra event, spoke at Los Alamos Kiwanis on Feb. 8, briefing his audience on the history, planning, marketing and promotion of the “Burning of Old Man Gloom”.

When Sandoval took on Zozobra, the annual event was going through hard times. Neighbors in the community, merchants and police were very concerned with the disruption it caused, citing vandalism to homes near the event, and the feeling that it was too touristy and overproduced. Sandoval and his team started meeting with the community, inviting them to planning events, and coming up with projects to involve young people and make them feel a part of the experience. 

Zozobra used to be the single most important source of funding for the Santa Fe Kiwanis programs to help children, but it became obvious that some of that income needed to be used for making that heavily attended show safe. The organization started looking for smaller events and is planning a New Year’s Eve on the plaza activity and a glow-in-the dark Day of the Dead celebration. They plan to create a Zozobra Centennial Committee and will invite people to come and bring ideas.

Sandoval described their marketing and promotion activities, including broadcasting the Burning of Zozobra and airing radio spots to talk about these events and about the Kiwanis larger mission – “making a difference in the lives of children”.