A Call for Moderation During OB’s “Marshmallow Wars” on July 4th

by on June 29, 2012 · 10 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach, Popular

Every July 4th for the last upteen years, OBceans and their friends mass on the beach during the fireworks. And as soon as the explosions and bright stars are gone, they open up on each other with marshmallows, as part of the annual tradition that began 29 years ago.  It ‘s part of our culture now.

And yet each year, the marshmallows wars seem to grow and include more and more of OB’s seafront.  Last year, for example, revelers took the fighting onto Newport Avenue, down the street, up Abbott, over to the Pier.

And the mess was incredible. The same thing happened the year before, with notable stains of black marshmallow goo on the Veterans’ Memorial Rock and Park.  Community volunteers – not enough – emerged over the next several days to clean off the junk.

But hey! enough is enough!

The OB Rag is calling for …. “Moderation” – “Don’t Pollute!”

OBceans, keep the marshmallow wars on the beach and around the fires – where it all began.  Don’t pollute our streets, monuments, and sidewalks.  July 4th brings enough of a patriotic mess as it is – so much so that battalions of volunteers have to converge and make a frontal assault on the trash pit that is the beach the day after.

So, please, keep the marshmallow war where it belongs. Heed others’ calls for moderation and to tone the fighting down if it ranges towards the streets.

There has been in recent years a discussion of the Marshmallow Wars, and there have been calls for a ban on the event– but this goes too far, we think.

In fact, we did a poll two years ago on whether the tradition should continue.

… 69% of the respondents to the OB Rag poll want the Marshmallow Wars tradition to continue, although nearly half of those want some kind of controls placed on the event by volunteers, whereas 27% believe the event is out of control and want it to end.  3% wanted to study the issue.

What do you think? Will you join us in this Call for Moderation during OB’s Marshmallow Wars?


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar gail powell June 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Frank Gormlie is a valued statesman here as he calls for moderation and responsibility from those people who chuck marshmallows on the beach after the July 4th fireworks.
I have volunteered many years in Ocean Beach for the Day After Mess. Last year it was so bad, my son looked at me when we got to the beach the day after July 4th & incredulously asked, “where do we begin?” Remember last year, beach clean-up organizer Coastkeeper estimated 800 lbs. of marshmallows were bagged up the Day After by 10 A.M.

There were just so many marshmallows all over that the thought of even trying to clean them up became over-whelming. Please OB-ites, have your fun but keep it off the streets, Veteran’s Memorial Rock and within a reasonable distance to the OB Pier area, where, historically, the sticky stuff has classically come to rest.


avatar OB Mercy June 29, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I just think it’s too out of our control to contain it anymore. It was fun years ago, but 3 yrs back I was riding my bike around the corner of Newport and Abbott in front of the OB Hotel, and I got so pelted with marshmallows, it hurt and I was sore the next day! They shouldn’t sell marshmallow guns at the street fair if they want to get this under control IMHO.


avatar Kim June 30, 2012 at 7:13 am

Marshmellow guns? Man I’m for the stoneage when it was hand launch only. No wonder the mess is so bad in the darkages it was psyically inpossibe to throw many marshmellows before your arm ragged and you had to resort to having a beer. Guess them days are gone huh?


avatar Sunshine June 30, 2012 at 1:26 pm

just as there is a Surfing Zone & a Swimming Zone, there can be a Marshmallow Zone & a Memorial Zone (one where the tribute to Veterans is held in high esteem). Anyone wanna sign up to be that evenings Marshmallow Patrol? We could create vests or some other costume to wear.

Teach boundaries, respect and honor, and still allow for Puffy Mayhem is win-win in my book.


avatar unWASHEdwalmaRtthONG June 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Damn, I just picked up a ton of marshmallows in my dually.


avatar jim grant July 4, 2012 at 10:50 am

Moderation sounds really good right now , but after a 12er that goes down the drain with all the marshmallow debris…..The OB hotel was a complete mess last year as was at least 200 feet up Newport on both sides …. i talked to one of the Hotel owners she was not a happy woman …..she filled 3 5 gallon home depot buckets with crusty marshmallows….it’s all in the name of good ” clean ” fun remember ….


avatar editordude July 5, 2012 at 8:25 am

A reader left this comment this morning:
“So much for your call for moderation. They were throwingarshmallows all the way up to dog beach. Thousands of people. It was wild”


avatar Catherine Hockmuth July 5, 2012 at 10:10 am

I think the police should do more to stop all the illegal and quite dangerous rogue fireworks. While walking home with our small child, someone threw a fire cracker that exploded five or six feet from me and this was a good 30 minutes after the show because we waited a bit to walk home in the hopes that the wildness would calmI almost confronted the person, but, thankfully, my senses prevailed (of course, that tacit acceptance only encourages the behavior). We watched from a house near the pier, but I really think it’s not a safe place for children anymore and that’s a shame. I think what we need is more community oriented type policing where officers actually walk around and engage the people instead of sitting up in their watchtower and inside their cars. All it would take is an immediate, and huge ticket (no one needs to be arrested, of course), to the first few people who set off illegal fireworks to stop it. I’d be interested in hearing more from the police department on their strategy, but it feels like they’re just waiting for something to react to instead of being more proactive, which helps set the tone for the event. And they clearly decided that they wouldn’t respond to the fireworks even though it’s illegal. That, and the community as a whole encourages both the fireworks and the big marshmallow fight, despite knowing what it’s become, out of a misguided nostalgia. I find it interesting that businesses complain about the mess, but everyone seems to sell bags of marshmallows in advance. The fireworks off the pier were beautiful and spectacular, though.


avatar Catherine Hockmuth July 5, 2012 at 10:20 am
avatar Holly July 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Not cool to clean up 1000’s of marshmellows from the streets or the beach. I love OB and get the uniqueness of it but the marshmellow fight should stop. It’s gotten too big and too messy. And if you are going to participate consider showing up for the clean up the next day.


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