OB Marshmallow Fight to Be Closely Monitored by Police

by on July 2, 2010 · 18 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach

marshmallowsgroup1San Diego Police have announced to the media that they will monitor the annual OB marshmallow fight, held right after the fireworks. Police told channel 10News that they will be out in force to ensure the gooey event doesn’t get out of hand.  They will be stepping up their patrols leading up to the July 4th celebratory day and night extravaganza held on the sand.

It’s the 25th such marshmallow fight, begun as a good-natured fight between neighbors and friends. Hundreds, if not thousands of beach goers, take part, and markets for miles around suffer vacant shelves where once the packages of white orbs once laid. The marshmallows are thrown between competing sides of the great bonfires that mysterious ignite near the end of the exploding stars above.

And it gets messy, gooey, and all the little white globs grab hold of the sand they roll in and become projectiles then of substance. And injuries occur.  Rich Grosch, not an expert on the great community tradition, but one of its originators, says there’s always been injuries.  His son once got hit by a fish during the marshmallow war.

marshmallowfight09Last year, the fight grew so out of hand that it spilled over to the streets and the Veterans Memorial Rock and its surrounding tile near the foot of Newport Ave. Volunteers – some organized by folks with this blog – had to rally and scrubed the site clean. There were numerous complaints by residents and merchants about the mess.

In fact, we did a poll last year 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.  At that time we had 62 respondents.

Granted this is not a large poll, but it is an indication of at least our readers’ attitudes.  Here is the 10News report:

Police To Make Sure OB Marshmallow Fight Stays Clean

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Moore July 2, 2010 at 10:28 pm

I do have to admit, I saw a few SDPD cars & officers getting pelted by marshmallows by a few people at the corner of Newport & Abbot last year.

Mostly they seemed to take it with a decent sense of humor.

I am pretty good with the policy keeping it on the beach, this year I will probably just spectate from a safe distance ;)


Goatskull July 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm

This could progress to Hershey (or even Cadbury) chunks and graham crackers.


jettyboy July 3, 2010 at 10:17 am

Ah shit, I guess I’ll have to go through all my marsh mellows and remove the rocks, bolts, and thermo-nuculear devices I spent hours putting in them.


Marisa July 3, 2010 at 7:35 pm

You gotta keep a cap on those marshmallows. They could put an eye out?


David Sloane July 4, 2010 at 11:14 am

Just read about this website in the LA Times Newspaper this morning. It sparked up some wonderful memories of OB for me. Please allow me to share some of those memories with you…

I lived in Ocean Beach for a few years when I was 11 years old. Back in 1963 there was no Sea World or a pier. We had incredible surf with long clean lines and no crowds. Some surfers were just starting to discover surfable areas of Sunset cliffs.

I used to collect coke bottles around the fire rings every morning around 5:00 AM and take them to the local supermarket in exchange for milk and eggs etc.

We had a local homeless dude everyone called “Spaceman” who would paint pictures around town with the relatively new, at that time, fluorescent paints. His pictures were wild. Then there was the ‘O.B. Longhorns’ surf club. They used what we now would call the peace sign when greeting one another, only to them it ment ‘O.B. Longhorns.’

Pratically everyday was 4th of July around the jettys. The older dudes would take m80’s and cherry bombs from Mexico and put on a show. One of their best tricks was to take an empty one gallon coffee can and put it on top of a lit M80, they would then put an empty 5 gallon bucket over the coffee can. A few seconds later the resulting explosion would shoot the plastic bucket up a few hundred feet into the sky with a chest thumping roar.

During the winters the older surfers would light a spare tire on fire on the sand and stand around it for warmth. The thick black smoke would rise straight up into the air for what seemed like a mile up. The police would just pass on by like it was no big deal. those were the days.

I learned how to read and love comic books at a local store on Newport main street. I would sit crossed legged for hours read Superman and Sargent Nick Fury comics at the store and no one seemed to mind.

My friends and I built our own skate boards because commercial ones had not been thought of yet. We would steal our sisters metal roller skates, the kind that used a key to tighten them to a shoe. We would take apart one skate, nail the front part to the front of a foot long 2X4 and the back of the skate to the back of the board. It looked like it was homemade with the 10 penny nails all bent over and such to hold it together. As we would coast down what ever hills we could find, the metal wheels would ‘clack~clack’ along the cracks in the sidewalks. And if we happened to hit a small rock, BAM, we would learch forward on our faces because the skate board would stop dead in it’s tracks. Another hazard of those homemade boards was the wobbles. No trucks like todays boards. Any kind of speed meant the dreaded wobbles.

The surf fashion of the day was Levi’s cut off just above the kneecap with long baggie underwear showing through the leg below the knees. We all thought that we were being so kewl! We would use slang that we made up. “Slick” was the term we used as a phrase in much the same way as the Hippies used the term “Far~out.”

Looking back on those awesome days brings many fond memories to me. One thing that I do notice is that the summer sun in OB is way hotter then the summer sun up here in Newport Beach. I guess being a bit more north of the equator accounts for that. But we get way more sunny days then OB does per year. I guess it is a decent trade off for living up here.

Just as my family left OB the Hippy thing was starting I think. I had a girl friend with an older brother. She told me that he was a ‘pothead.’ I had no clue to what that ment, only that he and some of his friends were totally friendly and so weird…LOL

Well, thanks for allowing me to share my young experiences while living in OB. Anyone remember Woolworths 5 and dime on main street? MarshMallow fights are super tame in comparrison to some of the things the surfers used to do and get away with. My how the times have changed.

Happy 4th of July!
Best Regards
David Sloane


Frank Gormlie July 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm

David, thanx so much for sharing, really was a pleasure for us to read. Sure, I remember most of those thing, Spaceman, the 5 and Dime. Oh, yeah, the water balloon fights were notorious. I never participated in one, but people would bring long surgical hose and lobe balloons filled with water across the beach at their opponents. Sometimes the cops would arrive, and sometimes they would become the target. We have some great photos buried within the archives of this here blog. Do a search for Labor Day 1968 or …

Thanks again. Hope to hear from ya soon.


Dave Rice (a.k.a. psd/anonymouscoward) July 4, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Awesome memories, thanks for sharing David! I love this kind of stuff…hopefully someday I’ll be sharing ‘back in the day’ memories of the ’90s and ’00s in OB with the next generation…and hopefully there’ll still be an OB to hear them.


David Sloane July 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Oh ya…LOL
I forgot all about those surgical tube water balloon fights. Mostly the older guys were just standing in the streets where they couldn’t be seen and lobbing them over to the beach, hitting people laying on towels.

Each launching had two guys holding the ends of the tubes and one guy pulling back on the cloth sling filled with a balloon until it looked like the tube was going to snap. It truly was a wild time in those days.

One thing that I just now recalled was the wonderful pink cloud sunsets and the reflection on the sand at low tide. Haven’t seen anything like it since then. OB had what I would call ‘Big Sky.’

I remember a burger place, where the present day pier starts and the old life guard building was across from it, with “Williams” pin ball machines along one wall. One of the guys knew how to get free games by pressing a hidden button on some of them. We would play pin ball there on lazy summer afternoons while eating greasy tacquitos. Some of the girls from Point Loma would hang out with us. We were in paradise.

On saturday nights there were always fistfights at the movie thearter in the side parking lot. One of the top surfers, a guy Named Tom had a brother, I think his name was Gavin who couldn’t be licked. We young dudes would go there just to watch the fights and see if anyone could take Gavin’s title. No one ever did best of my knowledge.

Anyone remember Dave, the guy who always ran the rental trailer with the big green rafts and umbrellas etc, located on the sand near the restrooms on the beach. He had an assistant who looked like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in the making. All of us young dudes would help Dave set up and clean up his operation in exchange for free raft time.


Citizen Cane July 4, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Got any old photos?


Dave Sparling July 4, 2010 at 11:49 pm

Thanks David for a bunch of stories about my new home town. As an old ZONIE I only went to my dads beach house in Mission Beach every summer. Didn’t even know OB was there. Strange world for a hard core extreme liberal atheist to miss out on so much fun. Just glad I found it and hope it never becomes Mission Beach or PB.


David Sloane July 5, 2010 at 5:08 am

No one I knew had a camera, heck people still hung clothes out on clothes lines back in 63′. OB was mostly poor folks who lived there because the rent at the beach was lower then elsewhere back in those days. Now it is the other way around. So Citizen Cane, sorry no photos.


Citizen Cane July 5, 2010 at 7:10 am

Us poor kids rode hillbilly rafts….an old tire innner tube inflated inside of a burlap sack. Today I own one of those vintage blue and yellow rental rafts…brass valve…rope handles. A sort of a stealth status symol, because few people can appreciate it.


David Sloane July 5, 2010 at 10:57 am

Dude! (Said in Reverent Admiration)
I only saw the green and yellow rental rafts.

I once found a wooden circle that had been painted red on the beach in OB when I was 10 years old. It was one of those things that the older guys were sliding along the tide line with. I learned to skim board on that thing. Now look what they are doing with ‘skimboards.’


ClubStyle_DJ July 5, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Sooooo… Was it nessessary to bring out the Marshmellow riot gear? Shall we expect a “San Diego beach marshmellow” legislative move? Followed by a city wide vote so the people in Ramona can weigh in on this horrific issue.


just my 2 cents July 6, 2010 at 8:11 am

No riot gear but: Thousands of marshmallows on the beach including into the surf they were washing up tangled in kelp/seaweed all day yesterday.
And 1000s of sticky blobs all over Veterans Plaza , in the street and up Newport its being tracked into shops up and down Newport.
Nice job OB ! How about heading down to do a little clean up.


clubstyle_dj July 6, 2010 at 8:28 am

dude, it’s spun sugar! that will disolve shortly. People (who actually live in OB)including myself did go to the beach for next day clean up, after the harmless FUN of the previous evening. Is FUN seems to be a foriegn concept to you. Google it … no better yet TRY it. When you find that Hermetically sealed clean room to live in, I’ll send you a card.


just my 2 cents July 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Do me a favor go to the foot of newport on the sand take a walk…..look at the plaza area, look at the street…take a walk up newport look at the sidewalk….
get back to me. Talk to a few buisness owners who have that crap all over their carpet and floor coverings !!
I am all for having fun , But when public property looks likes this after YOU have your fun I draw a line and say …go clean it up mr. fun guy.
I just came from there a woman had her two cute kids in the sand taking photos, next thing you know they had these sandy gooey things all over them. And she lives on Long Branch , she to helped clean after HER night of fun….SHE did not realize just how bad it is until she had that crap to clean off her kids

Your right to have fun ends when you create a mess like that. Just like the homeless kids rights to live a carefeee lifestyle end when they do things to piss off the community.


Frank Gormlie July 9, 2010 at 8:31 am

Here’s a great vid of the 2010 Great OB Marshmallow Fight: http://www.youtube.com/thebuskersmovement marshmellow fight 2010


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