My fellow citizens — did you hear that Tío Coco showed up at Fort Marcy park on Friday night?

On behalf of my fellow Santa Fe Kiwanians, I can tell you that a year ago, we definitely had no idea that Zozobra’s cranky cousin would be making a comeback! But when the state of New Mexico reached out to us to create a special event for the National Governors Association, we answered the call. What an honor it was for our club to showcase our state’s history and culture by bringing Tío Coco out of hiding. While we welcomed the challenge, we don’t expect him to come back any time soon.

Now that he’s made his fiery exit, we offer thanks to our Fort Marcy neighbors who, despite some inconveniences, graciously shared their neighborhood with a host of U.S. governors and dignitaries from around the globe. We are deeply grateful to Gov. Susana Martinez and New Mexico Tourism Secretary Rebecca Latham, and to the National Governors Association, for the incredible opportunity to present one of Santa Fe’s most City Different traditions — and also have a great time doing it.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Maj. Robert Thornton and Capt. Ted Collins of the New Mexico State Police and to our Santa Fe police and fire departments, not just for this event but for all they do to keep our families safe year-round. We are grateful to Randy Randall and David Carr of Tourism Santa Fe for working side by side with us from start to finish. Kudos to our event organizers, Laura Kesselman and Patti Waid and their staff; it was no small feat to create a successful conference of this magnitude.

To the members of our Santa Fe Kiwanis Club, bravo for rising to the occasion — what an amazing team. Hundreds of thank-you’s go to the hundreds of volunteers who helped us with hundreds of details, and we absolutely could not have done it without them.

Last of all, a Tío Coco-sized muchas gracias to our fellow New Mexicans, whose families, and especially whose children, annually place their trust in us to keep the Zozobra tradition alive and well. Thanks again, Santa Fe — Zozobra always will belong to you, and in just six weeks, your Santa Fe Kiwanis Club will welcome you once again to join us at Fort Marcy Park on Zozobra Day, Friday, Aug. 31, to burn your gloom!

Raymond G. Sandoval is the Zozobra event committee chairman.

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