It appears that the campaign to end OB’s marshmallow wars is gaining momentum. The campaign – led and organized by the OB Town Council – centers on a “Mallow Out” pledge effort to not use or buy marshmallows on the national holiday. It was announced at last night’s OBTC meeting that Newport Avenue merchants have promised to limit marshmallow sales on July 4th.
As the Town Council volunteers gather their pledges, Councilman Ed Harris has come out in support of their effort. His community rep, Chet Barfield, informed the audience at the OBTC meeting. Harris wrote a letter to local OB businesses, Barfield said to get them to cut down on bulk sales of marshmallows. Harris’ office, he also stated, is working to get city street sweeper trucks to be out in force along the beach right after the OB Fireworks end in an attempt to dissuade any marshmallow revelry.
Plus, Harris is adding grease to the Town Council’s effort to get the word out to not only OB but to the entire City that the community is asking everyone not to get involved. “Enough is enough,” was said multiple times by various Board members last night as the Council gave an update to its campaign.
Steve Grosch joked, “my father is supposed to have or have not started the tradition,” as he laid out the OBTC’s plans to end that very tradition. “Perhaps it’s fitting that I’m involved in ending it,” he said. “It’s been a fun run,” he continued, but “the last couple of years, it’s jumped into the street. It’s not family-friendly; it’s chaos, almost a riot.”
Plus, he added, “the clean-up the next day is atrocious,” and went on describing that the next day all the names on OB’s Veteran Plaza are covered in an inch deep gooey substance.
Dave Cieslak also spoke on the Council’s campaign. He spoke of all the complaints the council heard last year just before they passed their resolution banning the marshmallow wars. They did polls, he said, and “the overwhelming response from the community was ‘let’s end this,’ “.
“We’re asking people to leave their marshmallows at home,” Cieslak said, and added that they are planning on having a press conference about the campaign, ban and pledge on July 1st at 10am, with the police and merchants.
Local TV stations have also discovered the Town Council’s efforts and were out in force at last night’s meeting. There were four cameras present – all for the marshmallow controversy. Here’s their takes: CBS8 , 10News , and Fox5 .
Council reps went on to explain the progress of the “Mallow Out” campaign. They’ve had a great response from businesses when they asked them not to sell the white globs. All liquor stores on Newport Avenue, in fact, have signed on to the pledge. Steve Grosch said that the OBTC is still working with Rite Aid and they have agreed not to sell on July 3rd or 4th, and will only have a small stock on hand. The campaign is trying to get Stumps to have a one bag limit on sales on the holiday. The following stores have signed the pledge not to sell: Newport Liquor, Pat’s Liquor, OB Quick Stop, and Olive Tree Market.
To some laughter, Grosch added that they want people to actually buy marshmallows to get them off the shelves and donate them to charities. Also, at the suggestion of the police, the OBTC is trying to mobilize people to wear the “Respect OB” T-shirt and go in amongst the crowds on the 4th and talk to people who have marshmallows about what happened last year. This “Peace Patrol” will have an orientation on July 2nd at the Vets’ Plaza.
A Surfrider representative also got up before the crowd and announced that they fully support the ban. Several people asked the audience members to join the clean-up organized by Surfrider the day after, on July 5th, at the OB Pier. For the last 2 years, over 2,000 pounds of trash, garbage and stuff has been collected off OB’s beaches on the days after the big shindigs.
Lifeguards will be asked to announce the ban on marshmallows during the day on the beach on the 4th as well.
For more info, go to the OBTC website.