At the monthly Ocean Beach Town Council meeting on July 24, no permanent solution was arrived at pertaining to the annual Fourth of July “marshmallow wars.”
The tradition of throwing marshmallows at people following the annual fireworks display started in 1985 but has grown out of control because of the number of people — and marshmallows — involved.
The media showed up in full force, with television cameras and news anchors interviewing locals, police and fire officials, and politicians. With a turnout of over 80 people, the meeting had to be held at the Masonic Temple.
While one resident suggested a cordoned-off area to contain the marshmallow-fight participants, others asked for it to be stopped altogether.
Shauna Aken's family has been in O.B. since 1887, and her kids view it like Christmas. She said they would be devastated if it was halted.
Local business owner and resident Julie Klein said she loves participating in throwing them but stays to clean up the mess in front of her store.
The activity used to be confined to the sand and beach areas but has crept onto Newport Avenue, Bacon Street, and other residential areas, creating a mess that takes many volunteers and the Surfrider Foundation all day to clean up. Some feel that a lot of the participants are not from O.B. but from other cities who come here to cut loose and, in turn, are disrespecting the beach community.
Resident Ty Smith spoke of his four-year-old twins getting pelted with sand-and-dirt-encrusted marshmallows, which created bruises.
Lily Riley is a business owner who says she won't come down on the Fourth anymore; she feels it's creating an environmental nightmare.
San Diego police Cpt. Andy Mills spoke to the crowd with Lt. Natalie Stone and offered solutions. In agreeing with Stone, who suggested suppression of the event in social media — and maybe even saying the marshmallow wars will not be tolerated anymore — Mills felt it should stop being advertised on radio and TV.
Also, the police agreed with others who felt that local merchants should not sell shirts promoting the event; a ban on marshmallow-gun sales at the O.B. Street Fair every June was discussed. The police believe it will take a couple of years to calm the activity. Captain Mills said he would support any decision O.B. makes.
The OB Town Council has a Facebook page where you can take a survey and give your opinion; also, a community Facebook page called No More Marshmallow Wars now has almost 350 followers.