Monday, June 3, 2013

Kiwanis Club Wants TV Blackout for Zozobra

Because of declining attendance at the annual pre-Fiesta burning of Zozobra, The Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe is requesting the city not do a live broadcast and webcast of the event this year.

For years the city, in partnership with Kiwanis and Santa Fe Community College, has broadcast the event for the benefit of elderly or disabled people who aren't able to make the long walk from downtown to Fort Marcy Park and for school children who have to attend classes Friday morning.

But Santa Fe Mayor David Coss said today that he is inclined to go along with Kiwanis' wishes.

"We asked (Kiwanis) to cut their ticket prices because $20 is too much for working families," Coss said in an interview. "We asked them to not move it to Friday night because of public-safety issues. They've tried hard to be very cooperative."

The mayor said he'd talk to senior staff about the request tomorrow.

In a letter to Coss Monday, Kiwanis Zozobra event chairman Ray Sandoval said, "As we have disclosed our attendance last year was an all-time low of only 13,000 paid attendees while public access had over tens of thousands of unique local I.P. addresses viewership of its live webcast."

In the letter, as well as a  news release, Sandoval noted that not only has the ticket price been cut in half, children under 10 will be admitted for free. The club also is adding 50 more volunteer ushers and adding more light towers to illuminate streets around Fort Marcy to make the exit from Zozobra safer.

"... we have spent this entire year redesigning everything from the ground up to make sure the community can come together and celebrate this Santa Fe Tradition together, and in person," the Kiwanis news release said.

While Coss said he is sympathetic to the request not to do a live broadcast and webcast of Zozobra, he's not  inclined to broadcast a video of the burning 24 hours later as Sandoval requested. People wouldn't want to watch it a day late, Coss said. "They'll already know how it ends."

Hint to those who haven't seen Zozobra: Here's how it ends: