Santa Fe Events
08.31.2017 3:00 pm - 9:30 pm


The Burning of Zozobra, staged each year on the Friday before Labor Day as a fiery and exciting kick-off to Fiestas, centers on the ritual burning in effigy of Old Man Gloom, in order to dispel the hardships and travails of the past year. In 2015, the event attracted over 48,000 spectators, who gathered together at Fort Marcy Park to view the conflagration ritual and fireworks display.The effigy is a giant animated wood and cloth structure, one of the world's largest functioning marionettes, able to wave its arms and move its mouth to growl ominously at the approach of its fate. His arch-enemy, the Fire Spirit Dancer, dressed in a flowing red costume and headdress, is armed with a pair of blazing torches to seal Zozobra's fate. The fire dance was originated by Jacques Cartier, former New York ballet dancer and local dance teacher, who performed the role for 37 years. Cartier was succeeded by one of his students, James Lilienthal, who took over the Fire Dancer role in 1970, performing it for over 30 years and passing the role on to his daughter. Today this coveted role is held by Santa Fe native, dancer Helene Luna.

Gates Open at 3:00 pm
Official Events begin with Live Entertainment at 7:00 pm
Lights out at 9:30 pm (weather permitting)

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Location information

Fort Marcy Park

Santa Fe