The Burning of Mr. Michael “Old Man Gloom” Jackson kicks off labor day weekend


Rylan W. Martinez

On September 3rd, 2021 – The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe of course for over the past sixty years were happy to put on a show for the good citizens of Santa Fe by continuing on Will Shuster’s burning of Zozobra. Back in September 2014, they started what is to be known as the decade’s project which means they would stylize the Fifty-foot effigy for each specific decade for each year until they would celebrate over one hundred years of the tradition that is soon to come on September 3rd, 2024. In 2014, Zozobra was to symbolize the 20’s, then in 2015 – the 30’s, 2016 – the 40’s and so on. This year instead of capturing Zozobra in his 90’s look, just like what was planned as of 2020 when they did a Covid themed Zozobra during the Coronavirus – 19 Pandemic, They saved 2021 for the old man to show off his 80s appearance. If you do the math, this throws off the decade’s project in a way, but hoping they already planned to get this project’s timeline back on track, As of Zozobras 1980’s Appearance.


Instead of a Classic Bow, Buttons, Wrist Wraps, and Belt, Zozobra was rocking a bad guy Michael Jackson look. Since Michael Jackson topped charts in the 1980’s and 1990’s, it was clear for the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe to go that route when the idea for an 80’s theme came to mind. If you had seen Michael Jackson’s hit Halloween song thriller, Zozobra this year was a white, green-ish kind of boogie man who one would describe as Zombie-ish, Pale Green eye bags and haunted green irises, Zozobra this year would only be wearing a red leather jacket and would be trying his best to pull off a Michael Jackson kind of character. If the look wasn’t enough, the gloomies, (brought to you by the New Mexico Ballet ) Accompanied the marionette as his zombie gloomies and for even more pop-cultural references, A Man dressed up as beetle juice to kick off the burning along with the torchbearers instead of townspeople torch holders, they were ghost machine catching ghostbusters. The Show was amazing one would say, with an impressive firework display and dance parties. We can say that the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe didn’t disappoint to make the state’s biggest party one of the greatest every year. Though with a smaller crowd than usual, only selling 10,000 tickets instead of the usual 60,000, they managed to make a deal with KOAT news to set up another live and Legacy of Fire Show for virtual spectators.