SANTA FE (KRQE) - With rising ticket costs and a show that went on way too late, Old Man Gloom burned some bridges with its fans this year. And with people questioning why prices were so high when the city of Santa Fe pays to put on the event in the first place, the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe, which organizes Zozobra, said changes are coming.
Zozobra Volunteer Chairman Raymond Sandoval, who took over just two weeks ago after his predecessor resigned following complaints, has gotten an earful of complaints from the community since the Sept. 6 burning, everything from ticket prices to heightened security to how long the crowd had to wait for the actual burning of Zozobra.
"I think it was just the perfect storm, if you will, that just led a lot of people to say, 'was it worth it?'" said Sandoval.
Santa Fe City Councilor Ronald Trujillo said taxpayers already contribute a lot to Zozobra. The city paid more than $56,000 for police security, fire department, park maintenance, trash cleanup, etc.
"You have a family of five, at $20 a pop, you're looking at $100," said Trujillo. "What we need to do is come up with an agreement with Kiwanis and see what can be cut, how we can bring ticket prices come down."
While Zozobra is a family event, it's also a fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe. They banked $200,000 just on ticket sales this year. But Sandoval said half of that goes to pay for the event, like building the 50-feet high Old Man Gloom and hiring private security. The other $100,000 goes to pay for grants and scholarships.
"That money goes back into the city of Santa Fe, the community," said Sandoval.
Sandoval said the club will make big changes next year, starting with lowering ticket prices.
"We're listening. We've heard what you've had to say and we are going to make changes," said Sandoval.
One way the club is looking at cutting costs is by shortening the program.
About 15,000 people attended Zozobra, about 9,000 less than previous years, according to Sandoval. He attributes the lower attendance to higher ticket prices.
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