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Burning COVID-19 in effigy cathartic, healing

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A 23-foot body made of chicken wire and cloth hung outside the Daly Ranch Saturday night.

Around its neck was a chain that spelled out “COVID.” The belt buckle was “19.”

Zozobra and COVID-19

Attendees cheer and watch as “The Big Man,” symbolizing the difficult year the COVID-19 pandemic brought to people all over, including Campbell County, burns during a Zozobra event at the Daly Ranch north of Gillette on Saturday evening.

Zozobra and COVID-19

Wilson Restrepo, left, and his nephew Sebastian Toro attach the head of “The Big Man” to its torso before it was set ablaze Saturday.

Zozobra and COVID-19

Vicki O’Neil reflects on writing “seeing grandkids” as something the COVID-19 pandemic impacted in her life during the Zozobra event Saturday evening. Attendees tossed their cards into the fire to close out the past year and start anew.

Zozobra and COVID-19

Attendees hold their COVID survivor bags, which contained cards and pens to write down the things they lost during the pandemic before tossing them in the fire for a sense of closure on the past year.

Zozobra and COVID-19

Wilson Restrepo constructs “The Big Man” prior to the start of the Zozobra event at The Daly Ranch Saturday morning.

Zozobra and COVID-19

Standing more than 20 feet tall, “The Big Man” is admired by attendees at The Daly Ranch Saturday evening.

Zozobra and COVID-19

Quinn Daly, 6, center, strikes a kitchen pan with a spoon held by Sandy Daly while Sawyer Daly, left, looks on as the effigy burning got underway Saturday.

Zozobra and COVID-19

Wilson Restrepo, who built “The Big Man” at the request of Sandy Daly, attaches a necklace to the figure, reading “COVID” Saturday morning.

Zozobra and COVID-19

Attendees walk back to the group after tossing in their personal cards in the fire at Saturday evening’s Zozobra event, which was held as a send-off to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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