To avoid the possibility of being pelted with marshmallows this year, two friends and I watched the Ocean Beach fireworks from my rooftop apartment. We were curious to see if the O.B. Town Council’s “Mallow Out" media campaign would have the desired effect.
When I drove into O.B. at around 5 p.m. on July 4, it seemed like any other day, no more crowded than usual. I wondered if the campaign had resulted in a lot less people coming to town. After exiting the 8 freeway, I noticed a couple of handmade wooden signs posted: "Littering is illegal" and "No Marshmallows."
In the aftermath of the marshmallow wars last year, over 2000 pounds of trash was reportedly picked up from the streets and sands of O.B. At the Veterans’ Memorial on the corner of Newport Avenue and Abbott Street, the gooey mess was stuck onto names of people honored on the plaza.
Last year, a YouTube video showed customers across the street at the Ocean Beach Hotel involved in throwing marshmallows back and forth with people on the street. This year, we heard the owners told their guests they would not tolerate their involvement and would impose fines and ban them for life if they were caught.
From our vantage point on the rooftop, we could see the infamous corner, but we didn't see any marshmallows being thrown. The action — described by police in a 10News report as reduced by 90 percent from last year — seemed to be limited to the beach, for the most part. We had to go down and take a closer look. What we found was not many marshmallows covering up the veterans’ names. A couple of OB Town Council members (Gretchen Kinney Newsom and Jenn Avoledo) were picking up marshmallows off the plaza.
"All we have picked up so far doesn't even fill half our bags,” said Kinney Newsom.
A guy was carrying a big “Thank You” sign; another guy had a big push-broom and was sweeping up the plaza.
There was also a large police presence, as promised: on bikes and in vehicles all over, lights flashing.