Mallow Out: SoCal Cracks Down on Marshmallow Fight Tradition

Ocean Beach to marshmallow launchers: You're not welcome this Fourth of July.

By R. Stickney
|  Tuesday, Jul 1, 2014  |  Updated 3:50 PM EDT
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Marshmallow Fight Aftermath Cleared

Some of the more intact marshmallows covered in sand were collected after the fight in 2013.

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OB Mulls Over Marshmallow Fight

The 4th of July Marshmallow Fight is an annual tradition in Ocean Beach, but the fate of the sticky tradition is being debated by residents who say the event has gotten destructive and out of hand. NBC 7's Steven Luke reports.

OB Debates Sticky Tradition

Dozens of people in Ocean Beach showed up at a town council meeting to look at changing or eliminating the community's annual Fourth of July marshmallow fight. It's generated controversy this year, after some people reported getting hurt. NBC 7's Nicole Gonzales reports.
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Even San Diego police admit it will be tough to stop people from throwing marshmallows in Ocean Beach this Fourth of July. 

Town leaders and other community members tried at a news conference Tuesday to convince people to bring an end to the marshmallow fight that takes place every year in the seaside community west of San Diego.

The marshmallow fight is a gooey, sticky and time-honored tradition for the small beach community. It's been going on for decades, but officials say it has grown dangerous, with reports of children and elderly people hurt by the flying treats.

“It’s gotten completely out of control and has desecrated our community,” said Gretchen Newsom, president of the town council. 

She said they received reports last year of flaming and frozen marshmallows and even of batteries found inside marshmallows.

As a result, the town council has launched a campaign for the holiday crowds to "mallow out," in an effort to shift their expectations.

They've asked businesses along Newport Avenue to limit marshmallow sales and have put out a call for volunteers to serve as peace patrol officers, though Newsom said there will be no vigilante citizen arrests.

"We will go to the beach and collect marshmallows – peacefully," she said.

San Diego police plan to have 100 officers on San Diego's beaches to handle the holiday crowds, and a good portion of those will be based in Ocean Beach.

"It would not be realistic for us to be able to cite every marshmallow thrower out here, but we are hoping to see a reduction in that activity," Capt. Joe Ramos said.

Roger Kube with the Surfrider Foundation did not have specifics on the environmental impact of marshmallows left behind by the annual street battle but did say the litter left by revelers last year was overwhelming.

Newsom recalled that last year, in the fight's sticky aftermath, her flip-flops got stuck while crossing the street in what she described as an inch of gooey mess.

“Come to Ocean Beach and enjoy the fireworks, but leave the marshmallows at home,” she said.

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