Thousands attend burning of Old Man Gloom in Santa Fe

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Old Man Gloom went up in flames Friday night in front of a loud, massive crowd in Santa Fe.

He has been casting darkness over the city every year for the past 93 years.

For some people, watching Old Man Gloom go up in flames isn’t just about the spectacle.

“For me it’s like a burning of sorrows and grief, to take away all the badness that has happened throughout the year,” an attendee said.

More than 50,000 people young and old burned their problems away by writing them on paper and stuffing them into a 50-foot tall puppet.

The Kiwanis Club, which hosts the event, is also in the middle of the “decades project” — a 10 year countdown to Old Man Gloom’s 100th birthday.

This year’s theme is the 1950’s, so he rocked a cardigan.

“It’s a sweater we’ve been working on  — that “Father Knows Best,” that “Leave it to Beaver” that kind of thing that was going on in the 1950’s,” said Raymond Sandoval, Zozobra event chair.

“I like how they change it up every year. This year with the clothes, it’s interesting,” a Zozobra spectator said.

Zozobra was introduced in 1924 by William Schuster, back when it was only a 6-foot puppet.

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