Burned at Zozobra: Mix-Up Causes Thousands To Miss Old Man Gloom

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Burned at Zozobra: Mix-Up Causes Thousands To Miss Old Man Gloom

Miranda Archuleta, Editor

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For many people in Santa Fe, the burning of Zozobra marks the beginning of Fiestas. But this year, many were unable to attend the event because a mix-up with the lines slowed admission, causing thousands of ticket-holders to be left out.

This sparked outrage in many people because they had purchased tickets and showed up, but were kept from entering Fort Marcy park due to long and unorganized lines. Although for many it just meant wasted time and money, for others it meant much more since some people traveled from other parts of the state, the country, and even the world to attend the burning and were not able to attend.

The main issue, according to the Kiwanis Club, which sponsors the event, was that at the last minute they decided to combine the lines of people who had backpacks and those who did not. This led to a higher wait time, reaching 90 minutes, as security guards were slowed by the mix-up. Though actual numbers are not available, it is estimated that as many as 2,000 people were refused entry.

One of those refused entry was Santa Fe High senior Joaquin Grajeda. He said he arrived at the park at 8 p.m. and waited in line for about an hour before eventually leaving because he realized he wasn’t going to get into the park in time to see the burning. When he talked to a security officer, he was told that they couldn’t let him in and that he would just have to wait.

Joaquin was upset because he had been looking forward to the annual event and had made the effort to get to the park and wait in line for nothing. He also stated “the lines were disorganized and people were squished into a small area.” In addition, just before he left, people were beginning to get very upset because they, too, were realizing that they would most likely miss the burning.

Another student, junior Abdel Hammad, had a very different experience. He said he got to the park at 7 p.m. and had to wait in line for about ten minutes before being let in. Abdel also stated  “Even though the lines weren’t very organized, the line moved quickly” and that he didn’t see anyone have any difficulty getting into the park.

The stark difference in their experiences could be explained by the fact that the mix-up in the lines occured after 7:15 p.m. as that was when a security manager decided to open up another five gates to check backpacks in an effort to “speed up the process,” according to a statement on the refund page for Zozobra. Unfortunately, this had an adverse effect as the change was not communicated to all security officers, and all of the entry points ended up being used, which was against the original plan.

According to a statement by Zozobra organizer Ray Sandoval in an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Kiwanis wanted to apologize to those who were affected by this and that they have a responsibility to make it right.

Those who were unable to get into the park can receive a refund, but they will have to submit a picture of their ticket. The refund also differs based on the type of ticket, but each refund will also come with a Zozobra poster and complimentary tickets to next year’s burning.

Additional action will be taken to right things for those who came from out of town to see Zozobra burn. People who stayed in a hotel for the night have one of two options: They can either stay a night at the Drury Plaza Hotel for free anytime from November 2018 to February 2019 or stay at the same hotel for a reduced rate of $79 for next year’s burning.

To ensure that the same issue doesn’t occur next year, Kiwanis will not allow backpacks into the park. If people choose to bring a backpack, they can check it and put it in a locker that will be made available.

The deadline for submitting an application for a refund is Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. Here is the link to apply: https://burnzozobra.com/refund

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