Old Man Gloom went up in flames on Friday night at Santa Fe’s Fort Marcy Park. Thousands showed up to watch the show, which included a fire dancer, gloomies and fireworks. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)



Zozobra had a lot to answer for this year.

On top of the fact we’re still dealing with COVID, there were New Mexico’s devastating wildfires and the monsoon-fueled flooding that piled heartbreak on heartbreak.

And because we blame everything on Old Man Gloom – what else is he good for? – let’s add weeds because it has been a wicked year for that persistent pestilence.

It’s a good bet that no one among the thousands gathered at Santa Fe’s Fort Marcy Park on Friday shed any tears when the 50-foot-tall mammoth marionette exploded into flame, groaning and flailing about as he always does.

He’s gone once more, taking with him our regrets and apprehensions, and paving the way for this weekend’s celebration of Labor Day, Fiesta Fine Arts and Crafts on the Santa Fe Plaza and the Mariachi Extravaganza at the Santa Fe Opera.

Renee Garcia of Santa Fe dances with her son Xavier Garcia, 4, and daughter Lucia Garcia, 2, as members of Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe and others set up Zozobra for his 98th annual burning Friday evening in Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)