Local Guide

Tips before you go to Zozobra

Heading to 2019’s The Burning of Will Shuster’s Zozobra? Whether this is your first time or your twentieth time, here are some useful things you may not already know about before you head out.

Old Man Gloom

One of New Mexico’s most historic traditions, the Burning of Zozobra, aka Old Man Gloom, showcases the Original Burning Man, predating the Black Rock newcomer by 60 years. Will Shuster’s creation originated as a homely 6-foot effigy made to entertain friends and family, and over the decades has morphed into a towering 50-footer, one of the world’s tallest fully functioning marionettes. His bones of wood and wire shrouded in endless yards of muslin, Zozobra is stuffed with an absolute mountain of shredded paper. Tucked inside his enormous body are slips of paper inscribed with a year’s worth of gloomy thoughts and disappointments, destined to go up in smoke when he is set alight in a fiery extravaganza culminating in the city’s finest fireworks display. And General Admission for this only-in-Santa-Fe experience is a mere $10 per person, kids 10 & under free, except on the day of the event only, Friday, August 30, 2019, when General Admission is bumped up to $15, with kids 10 & under still free.

The field gates open at 4:30 p.m. with live entertainment, the headliner at 8 p.m. and burn time is scheduled for 9:30 p.m., weather permitting. Weather conditions may require an earlier or later start time and the event runs until approximately 10:10 p.m., again weather permitting.

What’s new?

2019, Year Six of the Decades Project takes Zozobra into the 1970s disco era, and it will be a blast to boogie down with Old Man Gloom.

There’s a Bike Valet! Ride your bike down to the venue and thanks to a partnership with Bike Santa Fe, a Bike Valet will be located on Paseo de Paeralta at Bishop’s Lodge Road, on the western side of the Masonic Lodge parking lot, located just west of the Scottush Rte Temple, the entry point to the venue.

Your bike will be safely stored and you can retrieve it at the end of the event!


You can ride the New Mexico Railrunner Express and skip the driving hassle! On Friday, August 30, 2019, the Rail Runner Express will adjust the train schedule so people can easily attend the 95th Annual Burning of Zozobra. Passengers traveling to Santa Fe for the event can take advantage of a later post-event departure time, as well as the addition of a second late-night southbound train. Shuttles take passengers from the South Capitol Station to Ft. Marcy Park, and then back to the station after the celebration, where the last train is held until all ticketed passengers have boarded.

If you are riding Uber or Lyft, you will be dropped off and picked up on Lincoln Avenue south of Federal Place.

Entry to the event

Zozobra is stadium size now. The NFL rules banning all bags, purses, or backpacks over 4.5” x 6.5” in every professional stadium but will allow you to bring your belongings in your pockets, in a clutch roughly the size of your hand, or in a clear plastic bag. with that in mind, please note:

  • Please, NO backpacks; food, childcare, and medical supplies must be in a clear plastic bag the same as NFL policy and will be searched on entry.
  • Purses and fanny packs must be 4.5″ x 6.5″ or smaller and are subject to search
  • Camera bags are allowed only for photographers with press credentials.
  • No alcohol or recreational drugs.
  • No coolers, metal utensils, glass containers or bottles are permitted on the field. Please empty your refillable water bottle before going through security and refill it when you get there!
  • No tables or metal lawn chairs are permitted on the field; only collapsible cloth folding camping chairs are allowed. No chairs permitted in premium viewing locations.
  • Strollers are not permitted on the field; there is a stroller check-in area for easy retrieval, and families who wish to keep their strollers with them can watch fro the family viewing area south of the main venue. Please, no wagons or large strollers.
  • No pets are allowed, with the exception of certified service animals.
  • No laser lights, sparklers or fireworks on the field.

Plus so much more information. For more information on road closures, event information, or anything else, you can head over to the Burning of Zozobro website.

Trivia: How well do you know Zozobra?

Categories: Local Guide