Search: Marshmallow

The Night OB’s Marshmallow Wars Ended

August 16, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

OB July 4 2014 roadThis is based on a post originally published July 5, 2014.

July 4, 2014 was the night the Marshmallow Wars in Ocean Beach ended. The wars had lasted 3 decades – since it began in 1985 with competing parties of neighbors at the beach at a couple of bonfires to then years later full pitched battles involving hundreds if not thousands of participants joined the virtual free-for-all. (Go here for the beginnings.)

Then its last few seasons – the wars cycloned off the sand and onto the streets, vehicles, local businesses and landmarks of the neighborhood. Many became disgusted at the gooey results clearly messing with harmony of the village the day after.

The first calls to end or at least restrict this particular brand of totally-local OB shenanigans began surfacing in 2009.

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‘Day After’ Clean-up Goes Smoothly – But Still About 10% of Celebrators Break the Marshmallow Ban

July 5, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

According to Claudia Jack of the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association, the “Day After” clean-up is going smoothly, although volunteers found plenty of marshmallows – a clean sign that some beachgoers celebrating July 4th in OB either did not get the message about the ban on throwing marshmallows following the fireworks or are trying to bring the old OB tradition back.

Claudia estimated only 10% of those on the beach were throwing marshmallows.

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Surfrider: Significant Decrease in Trash on Beach After July 4th – Partly Due to Curtailed Marshmallow War in OB

July 7, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

The San Diego Surfrider, other environmental groups and all the volunteers who massed the day after July 4th to do the beach clean-up found a huge drop in the trash on the beach. A spokesperson stated that there was a “significant decrease in the amount of trash collected this year compared to the last few years.”

The group attributed part of the this to the curtailment of this year’s OB Marshmallow War.

In a press release from Surfrider San Diego, they announced that nearly 650 people gathered at 4 beach sites on July 5th as volunteers for the massive annual clean-up effort, led by Surfrider. By midday, they reported that a total of 1,410 pounds of trash and 326 pounds of recycling had been collected.

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OB Marshmallow War 2014 – a Shadow of Its Former Self

July 5, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The Marshmallow War in Ocean Beach last night, July 4th, was less than a third of what it was in 2013. Way less marshmallows were thrown, the throwing did not get out of hand, and by 9:30 it was over and there was hardly a marshmallow in the streets down around Newport and Abbott.

Compared to last year, there were no marshmallows thrown before the fireworks, none thrown during the fireworks, and after the explosions and light show, it took a few moments before the first white globs were seen in the air.

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LA Times Discovers OB’s Marshmallow Controversy

July 1, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor: Tony Perry, friend and San Diego stringer for the LA Times posted his take on OB’s marshmallow controversy. The Times also posted an OB Rag photo by Joe Ewing, and quoted the OB Rag in a statement no one here on staff recalls making, anywhere in the numerous articles the Rag has published about the marshmallows.

S.D.’s Ocean Beach weary of annual July 4 marshmallow fight’s mess

By Tony Perry
Since the mid-1980s, residents of the Ocean Beach community of San Diego have enjoyed a unique Fourth of July free-for-all: a marshmallow fight after the evening display of fireworks. But the sticky, gooey mess left behind in recent years has increased calls to abandon the tradition.

In that time, the spontaneous, leaderless event has gotten more aggressive, spreading from the beach to the main business street of Newport Avenue and then to surrounding streets. The mess left by countless marshmallows has been unsightly and substantial.

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“Mallow out!” Says the OB Town Council – No More Marshmallow War

July 1, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

If the Town Council has its way, Ocean Beach will be a marshmallow-free zone this Fourth of July.

Town Council President Gretchen Newsom hammered home that point Tuesday morning during a press conference at the Veterans Memorial by the beach as they spread the word to “Mallow Out.”

“This has been too much. The last couple of years, it’s gotten completely out of control. It has desecrated our memorial,” she said. “It’s time for our community to clean itself up.”

The Town Council is calling for all businesses to stop selling marshmallows in order to keep participation down. Newsom cited people throwing marshmallows that frozen, on fire and stuffed with batteries at last year’s Marshmallow War.

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Momentum Grows for End to OB’s Marshmallow Wars – Newport Avenue Merchants Pledge to Limit Marshmallow Sales on July 4th

June 26, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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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.

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OB Town Council Meeting June 25: “Mallow-Out” the Marshmallow Wars and Update on Community Plan Campaign

June 24, 2014 by Staff
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OBceans are invited to attend the next Ocean Beach Town Council meeting this Wednesday, June 25 at 7pm.

At the top of their agenda is the Town Council’s campaign to “Mallow-Out” and end the Marshmallow War.

There will also be an update on the Ocean Beach Community Plan, which goes to City Council on June 30th for consideration of approval (see below for more details on both these items).

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Will Marshmallows Fly in OB on July 4th?

June 4, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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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.

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Point Loma Planners: Election Results, “Monster House”, Pipeline Repair, Drunks and Marshmallows

March 25, 2014 by Source
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By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

Six members of the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) were selected by voters in annual elections held March 20 at the Point Loma/Hervey Library.

Two incumbents – Peter Nystrom and Paul Webb – were returned to office for three-year terms. Voters also elected three newcomers:

  • David Dick, the top vote-getter among all 10 candidates;
  • Don Sevrens;
  • and Jon Linney.

Incumbent Mike Ryan, who serves as the board’s first vice chair, tied for fifth with Linney and agreed to complete the one year remaining on an existing vacant position.

The final vote totals of the six winners were: …

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Poll: Bare Majority of Locals Support Ocean Beach Town Council’s Ban of July 4th Marshmallow Fight

October 9, 2013 by Staff

In the most recent poll at the OB Rag, a bare majority of local residents support the OB Town Council’s “ban” of the July 4th marshmallow wars. But nearly a third of locals said they disagreed with the move. Clearly this poll reflects a lack of community consensus on the marshmallow issue.

At their monthly public meeting on September 25th, the Board of the Town Council voted unanimously to “end” the marshmallow mess. (Here is the full text of the resolution.) The OB Rag criticized this action as overly-unilateral and called for the creation of a village task force and more of a consensus on the annual event – which everyone agrees is out of control.

Of the respondents who indicated they live either in OB or Point Loma, only 52% of the overall total of 120 respondents said they agreed with the Town Council.

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Full Text of OB Town Council Resolution Calling for End to Marshmallow War

September 27, 2013 by Source

Editor: Here is the full text of the Ocean Beach Town Council resolution calling for an end to the 4th of July marshmallow war:

OCEAN BEACH TOWN COUNCIL RESOLUTION:

END the 4th of JULY MARSHMALLOW FIGHT

Whereas, the Ocean Beach Town Council is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the betterment and welfare of our community.

Whereas, the Town Council Board of Directors recognizes the annual 4th of July marshmallow fight is a tradition that started as a friendly rivalry between two Ocean Beach families involving a small group of people and no significant property damage.

Whereas, the annual 4th of July marshmallow fight has devolved into a rolling, violent altercation in which some bystanders have been injured and had their property destroyed.

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Ocean Beach Town Council Unilaterally “Cancels” July 4th Marshmallow Fights

September 26, 2013 by Frank Gormlie

Lack of Community Consensus Could Lead to Worse Problems

At their public monthly meeting – held last night, Sept. 25th – the Ocean Beach Town Council voted to “cancel” the July 4th marshmallow wars.

The Council board passed a resolution that called on the community to end the annual and traditional marshmallow fights held just after the fireworks display on the beach.

Council representative Dave Cieslak told the media:

“Over time the hope is that the marshmallow war starts to taper off and goes away and that people can enjoy the Fourth of 4th of July without worrying about having a marshmallow thrown at their head.”

As part of their resolution, the OBTC will ask the San Diego Police Department to enforce the city’s laws against littering and throwing harmful objects.

The council will also be asking local merchants not to sell marshmallows, marshmallow “guns”, and other items related to the tradition, such as T-shirts. The fireworks will continue.

However, within the pro’s and con’s of the board’s resolution, there are some issues and questions that are left unresolved, despite this vote by the board.

First, we applaud the council’s effort to take some leadership around this sticky issue, as there hasn’t been any leadership or sponsorship taken by neighborhood groups up to now – due to the “organic” nature of the tradition itself, and it has been absolutely a leadership-less yearly event.

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A Proposal to Form an Ocean Beach Task Force On the Problem of the July 4th Marshmallow Wars

August 16, 2013 by Frank Gormlie

This is a proposal to form some type of task force or coalition of Ocean Beach organizations to deal with the problem of the out of control July 4th marshmallow wars.

This proposal is based on several premises:

  • The historic tradition has gone out of control, is getting worse each year – as evidenced by this year’s mess and melee. The current state of affairs, as most OBceans would agree, is unacceptable.
  • It must change – and it must change over the coming year, as it will not be going away, and next year – unless dealt with – will be worse than this year.
  • The marshmallow war tradition is a uniquely Ocean Beach problem. The community, the village, OBceans – must deal with it ourselves. It cannot be left up to politicians.
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Reader Poll: Nearly Half Want to Ban Marshmallow Wars Or Fireworks Display on July 4th

August 13, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Nearly half of the respondents in our OB Rag poll on the future of the Marshmallow Wars want to ban it or ban the fireworks on July 4th in order to get rid of the gooey controversy. A total of 45% of those who did respond said ban the fireworks or ban the marshmallow fight.

A plurality of those polled – 25% – picked “Ban the fireworks and you’ll stop the marshmallows” option. Another 20% want to “just ban the marshmallow war”.

Another significant number – 16% – want to keep the tradition but contain it and control it. They picked the option: “Keep the traditiion, but contain it in a “superdome”, “thunderdome” or “Marshmallow Areana”, with controlled access, limited time, and control what is brought in.”

Yet OBceans are still as divided as ever. Four per cent voted to move it to Dog Beach, another 2% want to deal with it by having police officers cite anyone who throws marshmallows on the beach. Only 2% wanted to keep the war.

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OB Town Council Takes on the “Marshmallow Wars” With Overflow Crowd

July 25, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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To a standing-room-only crowd last night – Wednesday, July 24th – the Ocean Beach Town Council held an open town hall type of discussion on OB’s latest controversy: what to do about the out of control marshmallow wars after the July 4th fireworks display at the beach.

With cameras from five TV stations filming, council president Dave Martin explained that the board was not to decide on anything but would listen and encourage a community debate about the issue. He promised no final solution or decision would be made by the Council – by design – it was an important moment for the community to come together and air its feelings about the divisive issue.

After going through the usual reports and politicos’ reps spiels of their monthly public meeting, Martin opened up the floor for people to give their two-cents and recommendations on what to do about the infamous OB tradition.

And speak they did. One after another, folks got up in front of the overflow audience and made their case. From calls to contain the event and make it safer to calls to shut it down and ban it – the suggestions ran the gambit.

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A Proposal from the OB Rag: How to keep the “Marshmallow War” Tradition and Enjoy it.

July 24, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Here is a proposal on how to keep OB’s tradition of the “Marshmallow Wars” and to enjoy it.

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

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Ocean Beach Town Council to Hold Public Meeting on the “Marshmallow Wars” Tonight – Wed., July 24

July 24, 2013 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Town Council has invited community members to share their thoughts about the annual Fourth of July “Marshmallow Wars” at it’s public meeting – to be held tonight, Wednesday, July 24th. The meeting begins at 7pm and will be held at the Masonic Center, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

There has been a terrific debate among OB residents ever since the “outta control” traditional event this year after the fireworks on the 4th.

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Pondering the Future of OB’s Marshmallow Wars by Looking at Italy’s Battle of the Oranges and Spain’s Battle of the Tomatoes

July 23, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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As the residents of Ocean Beach ponder the future and fate of its infamous Marshmallow Wars, looking for some parallel cultural events in other countries and cities is a useful task. If the village of OB ends up keeping a tradition that most agree has become out of control, then why not take a brief peak at two other similar – yet different – events around the world.

In Northern Italy there is the Battle of the Oranges and in Spain, there is La Tomatina, the Battle of the Tomatoes.

Below is a summation of what’s available on these two spirited traditions from wikipedia. Both events sound like a lot of fun for locals and visitors alike, and over the years, both have been forced to have controls, rules, and restrictions.

The Battle of the Oranges

In the northern Italian city of Ivrea, the Battle of the Oranges is a festival which includes a tradition of thousands of townspeople throwing oranges at each other. But the throwing of oranges is between organized groups, where people are divided into nine “combat teams”.

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What to do about the Ocean Beach marshmallow wars? OBceans Respond

July 19, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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In furtherance of the discussion of ‘what to do about OB’s marshmallow wars?’, we sent out an email asking community leaders, supporters of the OB Rag and other locals what their thoughts were on the future of the marshmallow tradition and how to enforce their suggestions / recommendations.

Rather than attempt to edit the thoughtful responses that we received, we’re simply printing verbatim what people’s ideas or recommendations are. A few wished to be anonymous, so that is indicated.

Here then are the responses:

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“To Ban or Not to Ban the OB Marshmallow Wars”

July 19, 2013 by Source

By Giovanni Ingolia

Beside the turmoil that has been happening at city hall (A subject I would much prefer to discuss as its implications are much greater), Ocean Beach has a controversy of its own- the marshmallow fight after the fireworks.

I want to remind everyone this is not an event sponsored by the OB Town Council, OB Planning Board, OB CDC, OB Historic Society or OB Main Street Association. I personally sit as a board member on two of the groups and follow every one of them. They all do great jobs. (Remember this is my opinion and not that of the boards I sit on.)

The marshmallow fight event has its supporters and its detractors. Both sides make good points that are hard to disagree with. One thing all groups have in common is this event shouldn’t be harmful to others and the mess should be cleaned up immediately due to the problems it creates to the environment. We need to all work together.

Problems with a Ban

When I first started to see calls for the ban of the marshmallow fight there were also calls to end the fireworks.

Banning the 4th of July fireworks, a tradition that honors our country’s birth, should never be stopped in OB.

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Calls Grow to Halt the Marshmallow Wars of Ocean Beach

July 8, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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Enough locals in Ocean Beach have been incensed at the horrible mess left after the July 4th marshmallow fights that some of them are now calling for an end to the summer holiday tradition.

Mike James – a former leader of the business community – has now began a facebook page, calling for “No More Marshmallow Wars“. As of this morning, it already had 214 “likes” – and they were increasing by the hour.

Here is what James says on his facebook page:

The now infamous Ocean Beach Marshmallow Wars has been taken over by idiots who could give a rat’s ass about our community. Take back our beaches.

This page was started by Mike James. Mike was instrumental in bringing back the fireworks to O.B. in 1980 after a long hiatus. His hope is to bring the community together to find a solution to what has become a destructive event in our community. He is joined by Tyler Brand, who has seen first hand the violence and the negative environmental impact the Marshmallow Wars have caused to Ocean Beach. …

There are a number of suggestions and observations on the page:

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Ocean Beach on the 4th: Balboa Park Protests, Almost-Illegal Fireworks, and Outta Control Marshmallow Wars

July 2, 2013 by Frank Gormlie
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As we glide into the Fourth of July, we will soon be immersed in some ol’ American traditions: protests, fireworks and marshmallow fights. And in OB, all of these are truly accentuated – here, let me explain.

Take the fireworks for instance. Well, they were almost “taken” – remember the legal challenges to neighborhood and downtown fireworks by a local environmental group?

Almost Illegal Fireworks

July 4th fireworks in OB and in other coastal towns were threatened when the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundations sued La Jolla for its fireworks permits. The group believes that fireworks need to be reviewed under the stringent California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) as they threaten the wildlife, marine environment and do other harm. One of the managers of the group is Marco Gonzalez – a well known San Diego County environmentalist – and brother of newly elected State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzales.

But a potential compromise is in the works that would exempt such one-time a year events from CEQA. It’s a new bill that directs the governor to put together clear guidelines for temporary, minor-use special events being exempt from state law requiring often expensive, environmental assessments as a condition of some local permits.

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OB Rag Archives on the Ocean Beach Marshmallow Wars

July 6, 2012 by Frank Gormlie

Every year for the past several, there’s a whole lot of soul-searching done by OBceans when they survey the gooey mess left over from the July 4th traditional OB Marshmallow War. There are usually calls to ban it outright and much gnashing of the teeth as volunteers struggle to clean up the beaches, the streets, the monuments, the …. everything else that got caught in the targets of marshmallow throwers.

In 2009, the OB Rag did a poll of readers 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.

Here, then is the OB Rag’s Archives on the OB Marshmallow Wars, collected over the last several years – several of these articles have some tremendous comments, so make sure you read them as well. (Click on the the headlines.)

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Field of View: A Marshmallow Fight on the Fourth of July

July 6, 2012 by Annie Lane
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Thousands congregated in Ocean Beach for a colorful fireworks show – even more so considering the malfunctioning mishap Downtown – and the decades-long traditional marshmallow fight. Young couples, teens, older folks and families all took part, armed either with their own bags of marshmallows (sold for $3.99 or less from various prepared vendors along Newport Avenue) or scooping up whatever fallen artillery they could find. The warfare didn’t wait until the fireworks finale, though things heated up dramatically afterward.

The event is a wonderful thing to have so close to home. One significant downside was the amount of trash – especially the plastic – that was left on the beach. If something could be done about that, this would the harmless, uniquely OBcean experience it was meant to be.

Go here for the photos (editor apologizes as he can’t figure out a way to transfer photos from Free Press directly.)

All photos by Annie Lane.

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A Call for Moderation During OB’s “Marshmallow Wars” on July 4th

June 29, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Every July 4th for the last upteen years, OBceans and their friends mass on the beach during the fireworks. And as soon as the explosions and bright stars are gone, they open up on each other with marshmallows, as part of the annual tradition that began 29 years ago. It ‘s part of our culture now.

And yet each year, the marshmallows wars seem to grow and include more and more of OB’s seafront. Last year, for example, revelers took the fighting onto Newport Avenue, down the street, up Abbott, over to the Pier.

And the mess was incredible. The same thing happened the year before, with notable stains of black marshmallow goo on the Veterans’ Memorial Rock and Park. Community volunteers – not enough – emerged over the next several days to clean off the junk. But hey! enough is enough!

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

July 5, 2011 by Frank Gormlie
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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?

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OB Marshmallow Fight to Be Closely Monitored by Police

July 2, 2010 by Frank Gormlie
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San 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.

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Should Ocean Beach End Its Marshmallow Wars ?

July 1, 2010 by Frank Gormlie
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(Originally posted on July 16, 2009.)

by Frank Gormlie

For 26 years now, OBceans have been lobbing marshmallows at each other once the fireworks die down on July 4ths.

Since it began in 1985 with warring parties of neighbors at the beach all the way to this year, hundreds if not thousands of participants have joined the virtual free-for-all around the bonfires.

But now calls to end this particular brand of totally-local OB shenanigan have surfaced …

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Polls show most want to keep OB’s Marshmallow Fight – but many want some kind of controls placed on the event

July 27, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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OCEAN BEACH, CA. Two recent polls – one by this blog – and one that is still on-going by the Peninsula Beacon, show that most – or at least the respondents – want to keep the annual July 4th Marshmallow War around. The Ocean Beach public event has been the subject of debate recently after the mess that was left behind.

Our blog ran a poll for a week and received 80 respondents. Clearly most – 56 respondents, 71%, wanted the event to continue, although …

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