IT’S THE PARTY BEFORE THE PARTY. ZozoFest, which takes place annually the weekend before the Burning of Zozobra, provides a first look at Old Man Gloom, a chance to stuff glooms into the puppet, and an opportunity to view an expansive art show featuring depictions of Zozobra that range from photographs of actual burns to more abstract works.

You can also get your official Zozobra merch, such as the annual T-shirt and poster. Jessica Miller, Zozobra merchandise chair since 2015, and her husband, Ryan, first encountered the event by getting stuck in Zozobra traffic. “I had said to my husband, ‘What on earth are these crazy loons up to?’ ” Miller recalls. “And one year later, we’re smack-dab in the middle of it.”

Ryan, a Kiwanis member in their former Pennsylvania town, told the Santa Fe club to give him “the job no one wants.” That turned out to be merchandise.

Jessica is always trying out new items, including this year’s zip-up hoodie, bandanas for pets, and a window-cling sticker. The annual T-shirts, of course, are always popular, as are beaded Zozobra earrings made by Donna Keirns. In fact, press liaison Lisa Jaramillo estimates that she owns at least 30 pairs. “There’s so many different kinds, and people cling on to a specific one,” Jessica says. “Then you get the story of, ‘Well, this was my first Zozobra, and that was when he had the brown hair.’ And that’s fun.”

As for the “crazy loons” she encountered her first year in town, she and her husband now tell all their guests about the annual event. “We have been bitten by the Zozobra bug,” Jessica says.

Read more: Jacob Romero keeps the flame as the builder of Old Man Gloom.