Tradition continues as marshmallows fly in Ocean Beach

SAN DIEGO - Despite police and residents calling for its cancellation, the annual Fourth of July Marshmallow Wars in Ocean Beach still went on Friday night.

As in previous years, the event went on following the evening's fireworks display. However, police at the scene told 10News they saw a 90 percent reduction in participation from years past.

Several people were arrested after fights broke out in Ocean Beach. No one was seriously injured.

The Ocean Beach Town Council says the tradition has gone from family friendly to violent. Earlier this week, police and some residents held a news conference urging locals to cancel the event.

Last year, a child and a senior citizen were injured, local businesses were damaged and more than 2,000 pounds of trash were left behind, according to the Ocean Beach Town Council (OBTC). Some businesses in the coastal town have already signed a "Mallow Out" pledge on the OBTC's website, promising not to sell marshmallows on or around the holiday or promote the snack war.

10News was told that Ocean Beach police would cite participants because of the mess and potential for injuries. It also learned that organizers could move the post-fireworks war to Mission Beach.

"We have heard through social media that maybe some of the other areas in the city of San Diego would decide to do the same thing," San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said Thursday. "So we again ask that everyone use common sense and make safety a priority for everyone."    

10News went to all the stores along Newport Avenue Thursday night and found only one that was selling marshmallows. However, after questioning the manager, the rest of the bags were pulled from shelves.

Last September, the OBTC passed a resolution calling for an end to the sticky tradition. It also urged police to enforce littering and vandalism laws on the Fourth of July and to cite those who throw marshmallows -- which the group deemed "potentially harmful objects" -- in public places.

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