Santa Fe has celebrated its annual Fiesta, since 1712, when Governor Marquez de La Peñuela signed a proclamation that established the first Fiesta de Santa Fe.
Fiesta commemorates Don Diego De Vargas' peaceful reoccupation of the city in 1692, following the 1680 Indian revolt, when the city was burned and the Spanish colonists were driven out.
At Fiesta time, Santa Fe's Plaza bursts into colorful flags, banners and tents, with its crisp southwest air filled with the sounds of song and dance. Mariachi bands, Flamenco dancers and other entertainers take their turns on the stage in the city’s central Plaza. The music also flows out into the streets around the Plaza and into surrounding hotels and restaurants and onto street corners as Mariachi bands entertain the sprawling crowds.
Jubliant Fiesta goers come to Santa Fe’s Plaza to enjoy the entertainment , taste the chili-spicy foods of the Southwest at the many food tents, and see Southwest arts and crafts on display in and around the Plaza.
Each year Fiesta is kicked off with the dramatic burning of Zozobra, a fifty-foot boogeyman marionette, first created by Santa Fe artist Will Shuster in 1926. The event is staged each year by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe. Zozobra represents a ritual burning in effigy of Old Man Gloom to drive away bad spirits and dispel the hardships of the past year.
Founded in 1610, the historic city of Santa Fe is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Originally established as a trade center by the Spanish, it became the territorial capital in 1851 and the New Mexico state capital in 1912.