Infamous Ocean Beach marshmallow fight expands onto Newport and at vehicles.

by on July 5, 2011 · 38 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach, Popular

Screen capture from video on San Diego Reader uploaded by jnagonzo showing car being pelted with marshmallows.

Every year it seems that the infamous Ocean Beach Marshmallow Fight expands itself to even more and more areas along the beach front.  This year, it went down (or up) Newport Avenue further than some had ever seen it during previous years.

Plus marshmallows were thrown at cars and other vehicles cruising onto Abbott from Newport.  Is this a new development?

Gail Powell, a blogger at San Diego Reader reported that by 10am the day after (July 5th) about 600 pounds of marshmallows had been delivered from the sand, that according to a lifeguard, the white, crusty mushy things were all the way down to Tower 3 in north OB.

Powell quotes one observer as saying he had never seen the marshmallows “scattered so far and wide.”  This could mean the big event after OB’s fireworks had grown even more than last year. (Powell incorrectly reports that last year the police kept the fight “to an area below the pier”. Not true, Gail.  It was all over – but perhaps not as much as this year.)

Thanks to the efforts of volunteers – which Gail was one – the leftovers are picked up.  And every year the clean-up of the marshmallows is a challenge.  Three years ago the Newport Avenue Veterans War Memorial was covered with the goo, and locals – including at least one from the OB Rag – had to use some elbow grease to clean it.

How do you think this year’s “war” compared with last year’s and the other years?

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

MARSHMALLOW FRONT LINE July 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I felt people were going a little too far when they were smashing them on car windows on newport. I also saw people jumping up and down on car bumpers, it was close to turning into a hostile situation if one person had kicked, punched or done something else to one of the cars trapped in all the commotion. with that said i had a great time, but people need to be careful…. if it goes too far it will be banned, just like drinking at the beach, in the bay, and at kate sessions… just a thought.


oBak July 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm

it is always fun till the inevitable douchebag gets his feelings hurt and starts throwing bottles full of sand. After that, mob mentality makes people start throwing all kinds of stupid stuff under the guise of anonymity and someone ends up hurt.


Christopher Moore July 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Two years ago IIRC they were bombarding cop cars at Abbot and Newport, the cops mostly seemed to take it in good humor.


ha ha July 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm

You do realize that all the clean up on the cop cars is paid for by your tax dollars?


dave rice July 5, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I was down at the wall to watch the fireworks with some friends and neighbors – in years past I’ve seen marshmallows flying into the parking lot at the pier, around the park, and at the veterans’ memorial. My take on this year is that while I didn’t experience the intensity of years past, or any bad attitudes, the fight did expand backward away from the beach…this morning there were marshmallows 300′ or so up Newport, to maybe by the ice cream shop next to South Beach.

A big thanks to volunteers who were able to get down this morning and pitch in on the cleanup – I haven’t been down there this afternoon, but I’m sure everyone did a commendable job.


Talkingheadroom July 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm

All good things they say never last


E July 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I came home to a super size one on my car…..and I live on Santa Cruz!


d9 July 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm

We opted to hide out in the back country until the festivities were over this year. Upon returning home at around 11pm it seemed there were THOUSDANDS of cars leaving OB… yet only 88 volunteers (of which we were a part of) showed up to do what they could to clean up the mess left behind. Yep… we picked up lots of marshmellows, and Iwould never want to deny folks a little sweet fun but yeesh, the amount of paper and plastic litter that was also left behind was horrendous! And not just on the beach, we walked along Abbott Street on our way to the beach clean-up and the amount of plastic litter strewn all over the sidewalks, street and yards was deplorable. Much worse than what we have seen in earlier years.


Kelly July 6, 2011 at 1:22 am

It was horrible right by the pier. Some of the fights were turning nasty and I saw several people being arrested. Also, I saw very little good humor. Some of the marshmallows were being hurled hard, as if to cause damage. I got hit with a few and my head hurt the rest of the night. I realize it was probably just 20 to 50 morons out of the thousands that were there, but that’s enough to ruin an otherwise great night. And I can only imagine the mess the volunteers had to clean up.


BOBOB July 6, 2011 at 11:53 am

20 -50 morons are probably what started the vancouver riot…


Seth July 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm

The Vancouver riots were started because the Canucks ran into a solid Bruins team with a great goalie that wanted it more, and because their (often dirty) players were intimidated by having to play in Boston. The good folks of Vancouver are proud people who love their hockey, but the shame and humiliation must have been too much for them to bear. I know this is all off-topic and not really relevant to the marshmallow fight, but I felt like mentioning it. Thanks for indulging me.


Shift July 6, 2011 at 9:45 am

My favorite part is throwing marshmallows at the 10-16 year olds…they can take a whopping and really gain up on you if you don’t watch your back…It makes me feel like a kid again – only full of red wine :)

All fun here!


Seth July 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Was right on the front lines with my 3 year old son. His 2nd time doing it, and he loves it. I just try to have him not throw at guys who look like they have prison tattoos. Gotta admit that youtube of the Mustang convertible getting pelted looked like a stabbing waiting to happen, though.


Patty Jones July 6, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Ah, Seth, guys with prison tattoos love their babies too.


BOBOB July 6, 2011 at 11:52 am

sounds like it could turn bad pretty quick. No tears here if the city shuts it down. Then the rest of us who don’t want to have strangers throwing stuff at us can go back down and watch the pier fireworks again. until then we stick to other viewing options…did they do the waterfall this year?


thinking out loud July 6, 2011 at 2:59 pm

860 pounds of crap was picked up by surfrider and a group of volunteers by 11 am….the VAST majority marshmallows….the owner of the hotel picked up 5 – 5 gallon pails in an hour or so….
people are pigs case closed.
they say they care about the water, the beach the environment and then do that to the beach and waterways….
If you live in OB and say you respect the beach you better look up the word respect.
A very small number of people showed up to clean up, the rest were home hung over or smoking weed at 7 am……


ha ha July 5, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Amazing that people can think it is so much fun to hurt the environment and cause a lot of work for others, huh?


OB Dude July 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Was not there to see the action but was down that way today to see the Jr. Lifeguards jump off the pier. The sidewalks, streets etc. are a MESS at the end of Newport. Gross and dirty… disappointing to see this.


Ian July 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm

What a joke…. and we have dipshits who take the kids to go litter on the beach. Go back to El Cajon where you belong.


Devon July 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm

2 years ago i unexpectedly sacrificed my much loved HI8 sony camcorder to spontaneously induldge 100% in the fight. It’s toast. Sand in all the wrong palces. Never got to watch the tape. I fully debated it, and chose life over material. I chose experiencing life over filming life. The extreme joy and freedom of people allowing themselves to ‘spontaneously be’ had permeated my entire body like a glow of love. No regrets. That one marshmellow fight was literally worth $300 to me and I live penny to penny. You gotta love pelting those 7 year old boys. They hold the energy you throw at them and double it back at you. You react with the same action yet somehow they feel like they are gaining on you. The same blobs are thrown with the same force of impact yet somehow, somehow they ‘hold’ your energy and just throw it back at you with more of there energy attatched. You almost feel you have to surrender. It’s brilliant. Ironically i just got the camcorder a month ago to finally pop the tape out, and now the vacuum sucking begins 2 years later. I may succeed in resurecting it. This year on the beach I couldn’t feel the excitement in the fight. It didnt feel fresh. It didnt feel alive. Walked home and biked down to newport for some L Rodeo. My vintage cruiser still has a marshmellow valve tap. I can’t put words to the immense joy I got from riding up abbott onto newport and being pelted by marshmellows while riding my bike from both sides. It was real. It was rowdy. It was true life. I giggled. I almost cried. I had found it. the feeling of spontaneous creative life.


dave rice July 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm

+1. I also made the trip down to L Rodeo for some crappy late-night food with a pack of friends, too…still cleaning the marshmallow goo off my bikes and lock cables from the trip…


Tommy July 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm

It used to be pleasant like that.


DogBeachDude July 6, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Dear people that participated in this year’s Marshmallow fight, I hope that you had fun, however you left a huge mess all over our sidewalks & streets (picture thousands of people spitting out their gum ALL over O.B. and then the Sun baking it in) Please clean up your mess, your Mom doesn’t work here!


BigRich July 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

The marshmellow fight is out of control. Every year we visit OB for vacation and to watch the firework show as a family. It’s a great place with a diverse population of people. But as a family the fireworks are ruined because you have to try and escape hundreds of marshmellow flingin idiots who trash the beach and the local nighborhoods. Before even the fireworks started they were throwing marshmellows its like cmon we are here to celebrate independance! I know Im not from OB but we have been visiting 20+ years now and I feel its time o watch the fireworks elsewhere. I know its hard to try and ban marshmellows because the local business reap the benefits of the tourists. But you have my vote to ban them so we can truly enjoy the real reason behind the 4th of July. Peace… Rich


bcsy July 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm

It was cooler a decade ago when it went down in a smaller area and those who didn’t wish to participate weren’t swarmed. The morning of the 5th, my truck was a gooey mess. Sure it’s fun but just as with the booze ban, a few idiots who take it too far or get aggressive, ruin it for the rest of us. I love our town but It seems to be a lot more like PB in recent years. Interesting how so many residents proclaim their love for this town but don’t back it up with actions. Folks get bent when a chain moves in but don’t care to put their $$$ where their mouth is. Did we really think stickers and picket signs would stop starbucks? I advocate more aggressive, costly, and effective ways of achieving what we deem “common goals.” Otherwise, PB south.


Gail Powell July 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Thank you, dear OB Rag , for giving me some publicity. I would just like to clear a few facts up. I left the Morning After Mess clean-up at 10:00 A.M. and at that time, Coast-keeper volunteers gave me the estimated 600 lbs. of trash pick-up figures.

Additionally, I have done these Morning After clean-ups for a few years now in O.B.
Last year, I do recall the Marshmallow menace being much more confined to the area directly in front of the parking lot and right next to the Pier. Sure, there were some 2010 marshmallows scattered around, but nothing like how it was this past July5th!

When my son and I showed up at 8:00 A.M., before much of the clean-up had gotten started, we were immediately over-whelmed. My son even said to me, “where do we start?” I hope that Coastkeeper and Surfrider give a report on how out-of-control this marshmallow menace is to the OB Mainstream Association. Fun is fun, but this kind of fun is not fun to try and clean up the next day.


Sunshine July 9, 2011 at 3:23 am

for the amount of money the 4th draws into OB, i say stop all this needless bitching about the annual puffy mayhem and hire a clean up crew. having reviewed the various videos of this years Marshmallow Fight on youtube, the volume of smiles speaks for itself.

What’s next fun killers, banning marshmallows? good luck with that.


bobob July 10, 2011 at 9:01 am

sorry but seriously defacing a vietnam veterans memorial and the centerpiece of our downtown area with a thick black stain and $$$$$ in cleanup efforts is not good clean fun. this will be stopped sooner than later. i drove through for the first time on friday and I was taken aback. The fact that any adult would think that level of damage is just ok and good fun is a scary thing to me. I vote that all of the marshmallow fight supporters take it to their street/neighborhood. Or better yet, list your addresses here so that we can start an annual fight on your street that you can clean up and be reminded of for months afterward.



YOLI July 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Today is July 12 and as I walk on the sand to go to the ocean there is still remnants of marshmallows. Why would anyone want that manufactured product on their beaches. Seagulls trying to eat the sandy remains. What does it do to the water? How long does it really remain in the sand? Read the label on the bags of marshmallows- not really to leave something to leave behind on the sand, like plastic bags and bottle.

Quite nasty and not very ecologically correct no matter how much fun it might be for those who do not live here.


yuls July 13, 2011 at 1:29 am

This year i saw more aggressiveness, they even throw the marshmallows even harder that hurt. Hope next year every people calm down. Just enjoy and think about the kids too, it supposed to be a safe place for everyone.

And there was even more drunk people than past years.

relax people!!


kaylinA. August 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Traditions are great as long as people respect them and handle themselves with honoring the tradition properly. I don’t want to see this “sweet” fun taken away. But have you noticed our streets, Yuck! I’m embarrassed for a visitor to see Newport’s sidewalk and street. Just cause we’re “laid back” doesn’t mean we need to look like third world filthy! I parked by the beach the other day and it really smells like urine. Am I the only one who notices these things?!


Wendy September 25, 2011 at 9:51 pm

The marshmallow fight is wonderful, and I’m glad that I’ve been a part of it, but people have to be careful! If you’re out there and you see a situation brewing, do not get involved, you know. Back off, let the cops break it up. They can handle it and we can keep our fun tradition. Dumbasses will get into fights. It doesn’t have to ruin everything. A huge mob fight will equal no more marshmallow fight. And it should be fun. Smashing on peoples’ cars is not fun, it’s malicious. Knock that lame shit off.


rachael June 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm

I love marshmallow riots. i understand it a mess and that sucks, but they’re just marshmallows, not dog poop. my husband and i went last year and plan on going again this year. for us it good clean fun. yes there are some bad people out there, but give me a break. there’s always going to be a trouble maker just like there will always be a sour grape. I love that it has become a sort of family event.


Tommy July 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Yeah, it was really out of control with the drunken frat guy types this year. It had a more angry edge than usual, and there were a few injuries. I’m not sure we can get it back to what it once was, but it can’t be like this year again.


Vahn July 5, 2013 at 5:27 pm

What a degenerate useless act of vandalism! Yes, vandalism! It’s ironic that none of these people weren’t arrested, yet a person who writes anti-bank protests in WASHABLE chalk had to stand trial facing possible 13 years and $13K fine. Where are people’s priorities? It really makes me sick.


Debra July 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think the only way to put an end to the trash and filth our community is left with to clean up, is to stop having fireworks–for a few years at least. It’s pretty obvious that sooner or later, someone is going to be seriously injured by all of the “fun” and the gridlock will prevent emergency personnel from responding…


turtle July 6, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Vandalism? I don’t think so. Just like the chalk protester was found to not be a vandal because the message was not permanent, same with marshmallows. Yes, more people that participate should be urged to help clean up, but that is easy to fix, especially in OB (remember, it’s an attitude, not an address.) The biggest problem, IMNSHO, is the gangsters that come from other parts of the county JUST for the “fight”. They are drunk, disrespectful, aggressive, and INVADING and DISTORTING this cool, and fun, OB tradition.


Petunia July 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Marshamallow Fighters, are you the same dummies that trampled all oever the reflecting pond last August at Balboa Park? ***holes!


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