Many around the community have agreed that the event after the fireworks on July 4th – a tradition that harks back to 1985 – has become out of control, is no longer “fun” for OBceans, and is injuring and damaging too many people and bystanders and property and the environment.
The first fight began when good-natured warring parties of neighbors at the beach began throwing marshmallows at each other. Since then, hundreds if not thousands of participants have joined the virtual free-for-all around the bonfires.
In one sense, the event has become so much a part of OB’s unique tradition, that it might be a damn shame if it is banned outright. Other countries have similar annual events and have managed to continue them by containing them.
Here is our proposal:
Keep the OB Marshmallow Wars – By Containing the Event in the Marshmallow Arena
- Cordon off half-acre of beach sand – “the Marshmallow Arena” – close to or including the “original” site near at least two firepits. Using k-rails and nets, this area would be surrounded by barriers. This is done prior to July 4th; beachgoers can use the area until the anointed time for the marshmallow event, and then are required to leave.
- Hold the marshmallow war BEFORE the fireworks – during late daylight hours – and for only ONE HOUR.
- Control admittance to the Arena by volunteers, private security, and charge a nominal fee for clean-up and for set-up;
- Only marshmallows are allowed; none frozen and no marshmallow guns;
- Allow only 1,000 participants total; 500 locals and 500 “outsiders”; participants who pay the fee are given a wristband – and can be purchased prior to the event and online.
- Participants must only wear bathing suits or similar attire;
- Spectators, parents with young kids and others can watch the event behind nets and in bleachers set up.
- At the starting gun, the ‘war’ begins; at the second gun an hour later, all marshmallow throwing ceases; violators are given “citations” by volunteers that require them to help with the clean-up.
- The clean-up resources are provided by the entry fees;
- Volunteers – local citizens – can be recruited for the event by a coalition of community organizations, the OB Town Council, the Mainstreet Association, the Planning Board, the OB Woman’s Club, OB Surfrider, Clean San Diego, surfing associations, the Kiwanis, the Masons, the OB Rag, the Green Center, ….