Event organizer

New Year’s Eve event organizer promises better fireworks

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Plaza New Year’s Eve organizer Ray Sandoval thinks the 2018 festivities will be “historic”.

Hyperbola? Maybe, but Sandoval is excited about new plans to improve the fireworks after the midnight countdown.

An estimated 6,500 people attended last year’s New Year celebration in the Plaza. This year, according to the weather, organizer Ray Sandoval estimates that 7,500 people will show up.

This year, the Kiwanis Club will unleash pyrotechnics from the rooftop of the historic La Fonda Hotel. Sandoval said the elevation will make it easier for celebrants to see the show, which was problematic last year.

“What could be better?” Sandoval said in a recent interview. “One of the oldest hotels in the United States, you have the cathedral as your backdrop. I think it’s going to be quite spectacular.

Santa Fe’s public New Year’s Eve party is now in its fourth year and has already garnered national attention for its pretty historic town Different setting and use of the Zia symbol – the pueblo icon on the New Mexico flag – which rises instead of being abandoned like the crystal ball of Times Square in New York. This year, the Zia will soar higher than ever.

An estimated 6,500 people showed up to ring in 2018, Sandoval said, and attendance should increase this time around as long as the weather cooperates.

An 8ft by 10ft tin Zia symbol, the same one used at the 2017 New Year’s Eve festivities in the Plaza (pictured here), will go higher this year – up to 80ft as crowds in the Plaza countdown to 2019 (Courtesy of Rima Kristt)

Sandoval, who also organizes the annual Zozobra celebration at Fort Marcy Park, said Kiwanians tried last year to step up the New Year’s Eve fireworks display. But the higher-powered fireworks were launched from the city’s Water Street parking lot, one block from the Plaza, and buildings obstructed the view of the crowd that remained in the Plaza after the countdown.

“One of the things is people just couldn’t see the fireworks,” Sandoval said. “We would have the countdown, the Zia would increase and people would leave because it’s cold.”

Organizers approached La Fonda with the idea of ​​taking off from the hotel rooftop in April, according to La Fonda general manager Rik Blyth.

“Like crazy I said sure,” Blyth joked.

The Kiwanis club plans to use nearby fireworks — similar to those launched for concerts or sporting events, emitting less heat and debris — from an approximately three-story rooftop near the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and San Francisco Street.

Local favorite Alex Maryol and his band will headline the fourth annual New Year’s Eve celebration at Santa Fe Plaza.

The fireworks will rise another 150 feet, according to Sandoval. The fireworks are dependent on wind speed and two fire engines will be on standby for safety. Blyth said hotel guests will also be alerted to fireworks upon check-in.

If all goes well, Blyth would like to see New Year’s Eve fireworks become a La Fonda tradition.

“You will be able to see them all over the city,” he said. “I think it will be really exciting.”

Long live 2019

Another change for this year’s celebration came at the request of Mayor Alan Webber, who took office in March. His predecessor Javier Gonzales championed the creation of a New Year’s Eve event for the city.

According to Sandoval, Webber wants to toast, so volunteers will hand out 3,000 mini plastic bottles of fizzy apple cider, so people in the Plaza can join him in raising some fizz.

The Kiwanis club had enough sponsorship money to fund just the 3,000 bottles, Sandoval said. They will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. (There will be recycling bins around for when the bottles are emptied). Sandoval added that around 2,000 New Year-style buzzers and horns will also be given out.

“The mayor wanted to make sure people could participate and have a little fun,” Sandoval said.

Other changes based on event feedback include the addition of four food trucks. El Molero, Mustafo, Jen’s Diner and Que Queso will be selling food throughout the evening.

Sandoval said free bus services from various points south to the city center will not return this year. In 2017, he said, only 20 people used the service and there were only 30 passengers the year before. Due to low ridership, he said, he couldn’t “justify the city resources” needed to provide buses.

The celebration begins at 9 p.m. Local band Sierra, who play Santana, Spanish and country music, will perform at the bandstand, followed by headliner Alex Maryol, the local guitarist whose style has evolved from the blues prodigy that he was in his youth. , and his band. Hot chocolate and biscochitos will be served by the Kiwanis Club.

The mayor’s toast is expected around 11:40 p.m. The Zia box that rises with the midnight countdown will be installed on the roof above La Fonda’s gift shop, according to Blyth, and this year will rise higher, to 80 feet. Last year the Zia grew 50 feet and the year before 30 feet.

It is elevated to complement the height of the fireworks that will immediately follow, Sandoval said.

After midnight, the crowd will be invited to join in the chanting of “Auld Lang Syne” and “Las Mañanitas”, the traditional Spanish song that Sandoval says symbolizes a new day.

Street closures around the Plaza will include portions of San Francisco Street, Palace Avenue, Lincoln Street, and the Old Santa Fe Trail. All parking in city parking lots and patios is free after 8 p.m. h, including on the Water Street parking lot which was closed last year for the launch of fireworks. Metered parking is free after 6:00 p.m.