The cry of Viva la Fiesta has been booming through the streets of Santa Fe every fall for 301 years.
As autumn paints rich golden hues and the small of green chiles penetrates the air, Santa Feans begin to hear ¡Que Viva! ringing through the streets. Fiesta de Santa Fe has started.
As the country’s oldest continuous community celebration, Fiesta de Santa Fe has commemorated the peaceful 1692 reoccupation of the city by Don Diego de Vargas, after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, since 1712.
The official opening of Fiesta takes place Friday, September 6, at 6 a.m., with the Pregón de la Fiesta, when the faithful gather at Rosario Chapel to hear the Mayor of Santa Fe issue a formal proclamation declaring the start of these annual festivities. Community leaders welcome the public on the Plaza at noon, then at 2 p.m. you can witness a re-enactment of the triumphant 1692 entry of the Conquistadors.
The Desfile de Los Ninos, the annual Pet Parade, takes place Saturday, September 7, at 9 a.m. This is a truly uniquely Santa Fe event, where you can coo over ever-so-patient family pets dressed as conquistadors.
Sunday, September 8, brings the Desfile de la Gente, colloquially referred to as the Historical/Hysterical Parade. This lively, local, anything-goes conglomeration of floats mixes local high school bands, mariachis, and sports teams with queens and politicians of every stripe, all of whom eventually end up on the Plaza.
The official closing of Fiesta takes place at 5:15 p.m. on the Plaza and is followed by 7 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral and a solemn candle-lit procession through the historic downtown, ending at the Cross of the Martyrs, where small vigil bonfires known as luminarias flicker in the dark.
Let Zozobra Burn Your Worries Away
Pre-dating Nevada’s Burning Man by decades, Zozobra, familiarly known as Old Man Gloom, is Santa Fe’s prescription for recovering from the year’s disappointments. Zozobra was created in 1924 by artist Will Shuster and is now lovingly re-created each year by the Kiwanis Club.
This 50-foot-tall puppet is stuffed with bits of paper bearing all manner of gloomy thoughts and goes up in smoke at an annual burning in Fort Marcy Park. Though Fiesta’s official start date is Friday, September 6, the September 5 conflagration on Thursday night tells the locals it’s on! Entertainment on the field begins at 3 p.m., but the burning and subsequent fireworks display take place well after dark.
Santa Feans can’t get enough of Zozobra, and there’s a new event honoring our sacrificial lamb Friday, August 30, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. when ZozoFest pulls into the Santa Fe Railyard. The annual Zozobra poster will be unveiled and signed by the artist, and an exhibit of all things Zozo opens to the public. You can stuff your worries right into Zozobra and gaze in awe at his massive head. This family-friendly Friday has live entertainment under the water tower and a screening of Rise of the Guardians at the performance green, with a fun fair on Saturday, August 31, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Autumn is a time for creating the memories that carry us through the long winter ahead. Locals look forward to revisiting the treasures of our historic and cultural traditions and we welcome you to join us..
¡Viva! Santa Fe – ¡Que Viva!