By Alex Zaragoza
Nothing captures Midwesterners' view of Southern California quite like Ocean Beach-Hacky Sack-playing hippies; people practicing yoga on the beach; Bob Marley music wafting through the salty, mota-tinged air.
On May 21, the first annual O.B. Beach Ball will amplify the good vibes with a celebration of sports and music by the water. The all-day festival, to be held on the sand just north of the O.B. Pier, is sponsored by the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association (OBMA) and local beach bar, Winstons.
The event was meant to get rollin' last May, but rather than throw an okay party in 2010, OBMA executive director Denny Cox says the association decided to take an extra year to ensure the Beach Ball blew other street festivals out of the water.
On tap are a beachside beer garden serving up 24 styles of microbrews, a 60-foot-tall Ferris wheel, live music from 10 bands and three DJs, plus enough grub to satisfy even the harshest case of the munchies. Ocean Beach Surf and Skate will offer skateboarding and kayaking demos and provide an area for skaters to practice their kickflips and ollies. Temptress Fashion will conduct vintage beachwear fashion shows, while go-go dancers provide visual distraction on the main stage.
Providing additional entertainment-and maybe a bit of embarrassment-are athletic challenges that will test partiers' brains and brawn. Among these is the Human Haulin' competition, a race to see who can finish an intense obstacle course in the shortest time, while carrying a teammate.
"Sounds easy," says Cox, "but it's done in the sand...not so easy."