Club fundraiser burns virtually

Erin Cozad | Aug 26, 2020
Zozobra man

Kiwanis clubs have unique ways of helping children. Perhaps none do anything quite like the Santa Fe Kiwanis Club.  

The Burning of Zozobra began in 1924 by a Santa Fe local and quickly became a symbol of the city, celebrated by nearly 65,000 residents every year. The Santa Fe club has faithfully continued the Zozobra tradition since 1963, using it as their primary fundraiser. Since 1952, Zozobra has raised more than US$1.6 million for youth projects and scholarships.  

Members spend more than three months molding the 50-foot “man” and filling it with “glooms” — hardships from the year — submitted by the public. Santa Fe Kiwanis Club
Then, nothing but flames.  

After the crowd enjoys a night of food from local vendors, artwork created by local artists and lively music, the ceremony begins. The giant creation waves its arms while traditional fire dances and torch-lighting ceremonies take place. Then the crowd watches as their glooms turn into smoke.  

The club didn’t want Covid-19 to disrupt Zozobra’s 96th year. Members found a way to replicate the experience online. Leading up to the event, people can view and purchase artwork at the Virtual ZozoFest Art Exhibit, re-create their favorite meals through online videos and recipes offered by local vendors and submit their 2020 glooms online to be printed by the club and stuffed into Zozobra.  

All before the Burning Man, filled with everyone’s 2020 glooms, burns brighter than ever on September 4, 2020. New Mexico’s ABC affiliate, KOAT Channel 7, will televise and stream the event live for free at 8 p.m. MDT.  

Although Zozobra 2020 is a no-crowd event, the Santa Fe Kiwanis Club found ways to keep the experience lively. In addition, 20% of proceeds will be donated to The Eliminate Project to fight maternal and neonatal tetanus.  

See more about the Santa Fe club’s creativity at You can even submit your 2020 glooms while you’re there.   


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