Be cool. “The first thing is, go with a positive attitude,” says Ray Sandoval, Zozobra event chair. “You’re there to get rid of negative energy. Don’t bring negative energy with you.”
Be prepared. Check out all the rules about what you can bring into the event, road closures, and public transportation at burnzozobra.com.
Find your spot. Press liaison Lisa Jaramillo recommends arriving by 8 p.m. to allot time to pass through security and get situated. (It also accounts for the possibility of an earlier burn time, should weather alter the schedule.) The sides of the Fort Marcy Park ball field provide good viewing and a little less congestion than the center. For those who prefer smaller crowds, she recommends catching the show at Magers Field (near the recreation complex), which makes for a quick exit onto Bishop’s Lodge Road after the burn.
Splurge. The Ultimate Zozobra Experience ($299/person) includes a private dinner, escort to the event, and the chance to roast marshmallows on Zozobra’s carcass.
Dress up. The 99th Burning of Zozobra marks the end of the Decades Project and a chance to show off your aughts style. This year’s T-shirts play off both Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Show off your best Zozobra gear (vintage or contemporary).
Go as Zozo. Imitation is the best form of flattery. Many attendees dress like Zozobra, complete with painted faces.
Play ball. Before the burn, giant beach balls are thrown into the crowd. Work off some of that funnel cake and get into the action.
Get loud. Yelling “Burn him!” is an important part of the tradition. Remember: Zozobra represents all the misery of the past year. He’s got to go.