It’s exactly one month away from July 4th, and in the past, July 4th has meant another of the infamous OB Marshmallow Wars. But this year many OBceans hope it will be different.
Last year, the OB Town Council approved a resolution calling for no marshmallow wars for this year.
The Town Council was driven to take this position after hearing so many complaints from locals about the growing craziness of the yearly event begun in 1985 that has increasingly spread and caused more and more damage to public and private property. Many OBceans were outraged by the aftermath of last years July 4th celebration and the horrendous mess that greeted the Village citizenry the morning after. This has been an ongoing problem and issue for OB>
But the Town Council’s resolution was not a consensus of the community. We ran a poll on the OB Rag last August, and not half wanted to ban the event. Another poll found a little over half supported the OBTC’s ban. Others from the community had other ideas or didn’t think it would work, etc. In fact, the OB Rag made a suggestion last year to corral the event and allow it to become a celebrated but controlled fun-fight.
We inquired of the OB Town Council recently and its President Gretchen Newsom of just where the group is on preventing the marshmallow wars to occur.
And unofficially Newsom told us that the Town Council has met with the San Diego Police Department, and are placing the finishing touches on a public relations campaign. Part of that campaign will be organizing volunteers to help collect marshmallows before the fireworks.
They’ll also be having a press conference a few days before the 4th to help get the word out. Plus, marshmallow guns have already been banned from the OB Street Fair in late June, and the OBTC will be conducting outreach to local merchants to request that they not sell marshmallows. Newsom promised more in the works. They have a committee working on it and they are sure to be heard from as we approach the holiday.
Part of the OB Rag’s objections are centered on the fact that a true consensus of the community was not achieved, that one organization – even as wonderful as the OBTC – cannot by fiat do away with a community tradition – that has many adherents within and without the community.
We believe that the Town Council has pushed a community problem into now becoming a police problem. It is now up the cops to control the crowd and prevent any marshmallow throwing. So many questions emerge at this point. Will there be sufficient numbers of police officers to control and prevent marshmallows? Will their presence stifle the genuine celebrations? How exactly will people be sanctioned for throwing marshmallows? Could they be put into clean-up details? Will the cost of extra police be justified?
Any time a willy alcohol-fueled crowd is subjected to police pressure, problems can occur. We don’t want to see a riot on July 4th. And we hope the Town Council’s resolution holds and their PR campaign is persuasive.
We just respectfully believe it could be handled a different way.