In furtherance of the discussion of ‘what to do about OB’s marshmallow wars?’, we sent out an email asking community leaders, supporters of the OB Rag and other locals what their thoughts were on the future of the marshmallow tradition and how to enforce their suggestions / recommendations.
Rather than attempt to edit the thoughtful responses that we received, we’re simply printing verbatim what people’s ideas or recommendations are. A few wished to be anonymous, so that is indicated.
Here then are the responses:
The marshmallow wars are out of control and from my perspective it is due to the media coverage. We had folks coming into OB just to participate in marshmallow wars. It’s a cool thing to do. Unfortunately, the number of people involved led to marshmallow carnage the next day. Cleaning up the beach is a necessity but who cleans up the sidewalks and streets? OBMA does clean up on Newport but Abbott and other streets were covered with marshmallows. I live on Coronado Ave and had marshmallows in our yard the next day.
I can identify the problems but have not come up a solution yet. Hopefully other respondents will do that. I do not want to give up the marshmallow wars … maybe confine the area.
The Widder Curry:
I think the marshmallow wars have evolved into a sadistic ritual that is no longer fun. Freezing the marshmallow; using “marshmallow guns”, etc. can cause injury if the person is hit in the wrong area. I hate to see it abandoned – maybe because I remember the “good old days.”
Perhaps there should be a “roped off” area where the “fights” can take place. They should not be frozen, and “guns” should not be allowed. Everyone participating – hand stamp, wrist band, etc., cannot leave until they have done their share of clean-up. Those participating in an un-designated area should be issued a misdemeanor ticket.
Wish something could be done about the traffic congestion too. Shuttles? One way streets? What an additional nightmare that is.
Yes they are probably a bit out of control. The only really effective way to curb it would be to stop having the fireworks for a couple of years?! It is so large all other attempts at control would be futile.
On the morning of the 4th of July my neighbors parents knocked on my door and asked me to move my car up a little so they could get their RV parked. They had their grandchildren with them. While I was outside talking with them their six year old grandson asked me if I was going to take part in the marshmallow fights. I told him no. I prefer to eat my marshmallows. He told me his dad taught him how to heat up a marshmallow, roll it in the sand, and heave it as hard as he could at the side of someone’s head.
The idea that violence towards others was a planed family affair with no remorse was disturbing to me. I’ve never found damaging the environment, making messes, and disrespecting others any where near fun and entertaining. My hands are for making art and food, and snuggling cute animals.
Thanks a lot for showing some respect for OB by addressing this topic.
The marshmallow Wars are out of control. They come across as immature, abusive, and destructive to everything in their path. Adults are teaching their children to hurt others in the name of fun. It is not fun to hurt people in my book. We send a disrespectful message with our abusive behavior.
If the MW is not completely eliminated perhaps it should be turned into a sanctioned event with contests and prizes. There could be a designated biodegradable plastic covered area that is roped off. A carnival like area dedicated to marshmallow fun and games. Maybe even have teams. Maybe have an obstacle course or activities that are all in a contained plastic covered area. There could even be an entry fee that could go towards prizes. Have you seen the carnival game where the ducks are going along and the contestant shoots at them? People could be dressed as ducks and as they walk along they could have marshmallows shot at them. People could sign up to be ducks or to play other roles in the MW carnival. I would turn it into a contained carnival like participatory event. Marshmallow cream covered sun bathers; set the hounds loose.
Can we put a big cage on the beach and anyone making a mess outside the sanctioned mess zone can watch the fireworks from inside the beach cage. Maybe CMH can sponsor the beach cage; they can bring straight jackets.
The big problem is how do we cause people to care when they obviously do not care about people or the environment? As an Obecain I frequently feel used and abused by visitors that think OB means a big disrespectful free for all substance abuse fest.
A Marshmallow Carnival team could get together and organize this even like any event is organized. We have seen the duck tape outfits. How about some marshmallow outfits? What kinds of games and activities could involve marshmallows in a contained respectful way? Where could it be, what would it cost, what kinds of games and activities would be included. Get some of the biggest MW offenders to be involved. Teach them to get themselves under control.
What started as a quaint little neighborhood diversion (which was a heck of a lot of fun for the participants) has gotten out of hand. Now that the out-of towners have decided that trashing OB is the way to top off their 4th of July celebration, it’s time to put an end to the ever increasing insanity.
Locals should not promote or talk up the marshmallow fight and should definitely not participate. Give it a couple of years and people will forget about it.
They are out of control. I saw such tex-and-drive-type A.D.D. that there was more focus on participating in the war than in enjoying the fireworks. It also has greatly expanded like urban sprawl.
I believe that it should be contained to the beach and not start until after the fireworks. Let the police do their thing rather than harass buskers.
My personal opinion as a resident of OB: When I moved to OB two years ago I loved the small town feel. My husband and I have been involved in community service in OB, crime watches, beach clean ups, etc.
They lack of respect in OB by both residents and visitors is unreal and unacceptable. We intentionally left OB for the July fourth week end to avoid the disrespect and disregard party atmosphere.
We returned home late Sunday afternoon to broken beer bottles in our driveway and vomit under our kitchen window. I say no more marshmallow fight – period.
Come out as a community and ask for everyone to come and enjoy our beach but leave the marshmallows at home. No more promoting the fight. No marshmallow guns for sale at street fair, etc.
And how about respecting OB all year. Clean up our streets and show respect. Maybe others will respect OB as well. Ask for sdpd to support by issuing citations for disorderly conduct, drunk in public, etc. We will be leaving OB before next years festivities … it is a shame that people have such little respect for themselves and their community.
Get rid of the OB fireworks, if people don’t agree to stop the Marshmallow wars. Ssaw an old lady fall on the sidewalk because of the stickiness the day after.
Create a fenced, fun zone type of area where the marshmallow wars can happen. Charge a nominal fee to enter which will pay for clean-up, staffing and fencing. Check people as they enter to insure they only bring unopened bags of marshmallows (to prevent tampering). Maybe even include some blow up obstructions like they have in paintball courts. Blow a whistle. Let the mayhem commence.
Gretchen Newsom :
The Town Council will be discussing the Marshmallow Fight at our meeting on the 24th at 7:00pm at the Masonic Hall on Sunset Cliffs and Santa Cruz. We’ll be looking for input from the community on this “tradition” – should it continue or end? Should it be changed?
Personally (i.e. this is not an OBTC official opinion) – I feel like this event has gotten out of control and needs to be reigned back. I joined Surfrider and other Obeceans and spent over 4 hours on July 5th picking up the mess at our beaches and in our streets… and the mess is still evident.
It is absolutely disgraceful that Veteran’s Plaza is still in such disrepair – this is not how our fallen soldiers should be honored! If this event is something the community wants to keep, we should crowd-fund a professional cleanup effort next year; rope off an “official MM area”; create a media campaign to “save our streets”; and deter businesses from selling exorbitant amounts of marshmallows. Just a few ideas….
Create a restricted area away from the water by the lifeguard station (maybe the grass area) where you can be allowed to shoot marshmallows for a $10 charge – the ocst of cleaning up after your mess.
Have the OBMA collect the clean-up fee for each person who wants admission into the restricted area and shoot marshmallows and set up a fence of sorts so that people have to stay in that area. And then have police on the quads patrolling the beach front to make sure no one is shooting off marshmallows. Have big signs posted temporarily in the sand that warn ‘you will be fined xxx dollars if you shoot marshmallows in city perimeters outside of the approve, roped off area.
I’ve attended the OB Marshmallow fight once – in 2012 – and it is quite the event. It’s a great coming together of many people for the express purpose of fun, and it’s something that really can’t be explained; you just have to experience.
That being said, the annual marshmallow fight is an example of environmental recklessness. Plastic grocery bags full of leftover food and trash are left behind, feet from the rising tide.
The streets are such a sticky mess that your feet stick to the concrete making crossing the street quite a bit of effort. If you’re wearing flip flops, forget it.
I can’t imagine owning a business along that area of Newport and having to deal with the wreckage the following the day. The OB Marshmallow fight is best for those who get to leave before the clean up begins.
It would be nice if the litter, damage and sticky remnants could be minimized. This is a tradition that has been ongoing for years now and it’s a pretty unique one at that. But I personally don’t know how anyone could begin to go about doing that. From what I observed, the event pretty much takes on a life of its own.
Wasteful anyway you look at it. Horrible for OB environment. Stop it completely. Too out of control if families are afraid to go down to the beach. This year the marshmallow throwing started before the firework show ended. And marshmallows were spotted up as far as Guizot.
Perhaps skipping a year of fireworks. Or not selling marshmallow in every store in OB
I won’t go down there any more as last year (i.e., 2012), I got pummeled by one with a rock in it and received a black eye and swollen face. I’ve heard of other people having similar experiences, too. Then, there’s all that sticky-gooey mush. Believe it or not, I actually got stuck and had to get pulled out!
While I loathe the idea of police intervention in what can be “healthy” fun for some, there are so many families with babies and little children down there, etc., and just imagine if someone were actually hurt. . .If that rock-filled marshmallow had hit an infant. . .So, perhaps guidelines that say small-to-medium marshmallows only? No marshmallow-shooters?
I would hope that OB would now take stock over the marshmallow situation and vow to do something about it. My suggestion: try and control the mayhem. Have a “Marshmallow Zone” blocked off with tape and have some “community volunteers” around to supervise. Yeah, maybe a few cool cops too. Keep the mess on the sand and off the streets where it becomes much more a safety hazard. Let it be known that if the Marshmallow Wars do not stay in the confined area and it becomes a marshmallow riot, OB July 4th Fireworks could be in jeopardy.
I would see this happening by having a meeting at the Rec Center or the Masonic place where locals could discuss the situation and come to a conclusion on it. Would hope that the OB Mainstreet Association would take a role in this. Perhaps we can hit up some of the big marshmallow companies for a “donation” or “grant” that could be used to clean up the mess after the 4th of July. Also, I would hope that OB would officially thank (offer a proclamation) to Surfrider & Coastkeeper for their initiative in going down there year-after-year and taking care of business on the beach.
Once upon a time I was a young person. I placed a lot of importance on seeing and being seen. That’s why I think our celebration of July 4th should be a daytime event. It should be a day of good, clean fun.
In the OB Rag I proposed a sort of marshmallow olympics, surfing contests, and dory racing. I say give the normal people some daytime options for fun, and take away the fireworks display. Yes, some people will still have their own fireworks, and some will continue to bully old ladies in the dark.
We can’t turn that off, like flipping a switch. But if we can reduce the size of the nightime crowd, then maybe the police can manage things better. Ideally though I’d like to see the fourth of July as a day when lifeguards work overtime, and the police have a normal Summer day. Maybe we need to give the bars and liquor stores a forced holiday.
There are environmental reasons to stop the fireworks. There’s also better ways to spend the money raised by the annual chili street fair. Most importantly we all need to accept the truth that we can’t celebrate our independence when we rely on China and Mexico to supply us with our fireworks, American flags, paper napkins, and plastic tablecloths. We really need to reinvent how we celebrate the fourth of July. Let’s do it with patriotism, mutual respect, and good, clean fun.
I think we should change the role of the volunteers that clean up trash on the morning after the holiday. Yes, they do an important job, but they are enablers in the process. They mask the cost of the damage to the city. I think that allows the city to be lax on citing people for littering. I say the volunteers should form a line parallel to the shore, and limit their actions to preventing trash from being washed into the ocean. Leave most of the mess for the city, and maybe they’ll see the true cost of having a fireworks show.
Ideas of your own? Add them here in the comments and help keep this discussion going.