San Diego police Cpt. Andy Mills and Lt. Natalie Stone listen to the audience
  • San Diego police Cpt. Andy Mills and Lt. Natalie Stone listen to the audience
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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.

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FatCatSegat July 25, 2013 @ 8:41 a.m.

Isn't living in a democracy cool? I hope if it comes to some kind of vote, that the wars be allowed to continue in an abbreviated form. Sure, cordon off a BIG area and keep it there. Don't stop what has become a neat OB tradition. Get it under control, monitor what needs to be monitored and enjoy yourselves! See ya next year?


jnojr July 25, 2013 @ 12:46 p.m.

We really need the police involved in this?

You know why we have too many laws, too many police in too many aspects of our lives, too much government, too much regulation? It's because pretty much everyone who decries government abuses (Democrats love to cry about guns, expanding the welfare state, etc. while Republicans screech about abortions, marijuana and enforcing "family values") is in favor of big government when it comes to stopping something they disapprove of or mandating something they think is great but everyone else isn't smart enough to do on their own.

And when you give government more power and money and control for that one issue you feel so strongly about, you're creating an inevitable situation where that bigger government is going to use that increased size and power to stop you from having marshmallow fights. And then to stop and search you to see if you're carrying contraband marshmallows, or anything else that other people have decided should be banned.


Mercy Baron July 25, 2013 @ 1:41 p.m.

If everyone was "smart enough to do on their own" we wouldn't be having this convo in the first place. It's the people that are throwing baseball sized, FROZEN marshmallows, attacking cars and private properties and others who don't live here and think OB will tolerate ANY kind of abuse because of our live and let live philosophy.

Most who got up and spoke, want to see the MW continue, just not at the chaotic pace it has turned into. I think it is a fun event, but the last 3-4 yrs it is outta control. I never experienced walking up Long Branch to my place just past Abbott and having kids from rooftops trying to pummel me with them. As they pick up dirt and sand and get rethrown, I have had bruises from them.

When it has become a danger to the environment, I don't give a damn who is upset that "big government" is taking one of your liberties away. Get over it and keep it under control I say!!

But the idea of having a separate area for it is going to take several years to enforce. People are STILL going to doing it way outside any confined zone.


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