Each year Fiesta is kicked off with the dramatic burning of Zozobra, a fifty-foot boogeyman marionette created by Santa Fe artist Will Shuster in 1926. The event is staged each year by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe. Zozobra representsa ritual burning in effigy of Old Man Gloom to drive away bad spirits and dispel the hardships of the past year.
Founded in 1610, the historic city of Santa Fe is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Originally established a trade center by the Spanish, it became territorial capital in 1851 and the New Mexico state capital in 1912.