A crowd estimated at as many as 1,000 people turned out for Evanston’s first ever marshmallow drop event at James Park this morning.

Kids got to chase after thousands of marshmallows dropped from a helicopter that made three runs over the park to accommodate different age groups.

Parents, many of whom had had to park blocks away because of the crowd, watched …

… as their kids retrieved the gooey treats …

…. which they were cautioned not to eat,

but were encouraged instead to trade in for prizes.

Aside from pay for city workers, the cost of the event was estimated at $4,420.

Related story

Marshmallow drop hits Evanston Friday (3/29/18)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Disaster
    This was VERY poorly orchestrated.
    Little children were trampled on by older children (even though they were not supposed to be in the same age group), there were NOWHERE near enough marshmallows for the massive turnout and I witnessed many children EATING the marshmallows (even the ones that landed over the numerous goose turds).
    Complete waste of money!

    1. Hyperbole much?

      I won’t defend the event as flawless, but I give the city credit for trying something out of the ordinary. If the city does it again, I’m sure it will improve upon it next time. In my case, my son and I biked over. My son ran around with friends he hadn’t seen all spring break. He got 1 inedible marshmallow, which he traded in for a handful of edible marshmallows. It was a unique event that put a smile on his face.

      Let’s break down your hyperbolic negativity:

      “Little children were trampled” — You and I must have different understandings of the word “trampled.” I didn’t see any trampling. I didn’t hear ambulances come to the aid of any maimed children. Little children are awkward, balance-impaired humanoids. They fall down often. That’s what they do. So long as no limbs were broken or lives were lost, I chalk this up as a non-issue.

      “older children (even though they were not supposed to be in the same age group)” — So, what you’re saying is that despite the city’s numerous notifications of there being different drops for different age groups, parents still didn’t instruct their children to participate in the age-appropriate drop? Unless you expect the city to check every kid’s birth certificate, it sounds like you’re more upset with parents than the city.

      “NOWHERE near enough marshmallows for the massive turnout” — I’ll agree that there should’ve been more marshmallows dropped, but how many inedible marshmallows does each kid need? The city gave out real treats under the blue tents, even if little Johnny came up empty handed in the drop.

      “I witnessed many children EATING the marshmallows” – So, again, this is a parenting issue. If you can’t stop your child from eating food that touched goose turds, perhaps this is not the event for you.

      “Complete waste of money!” – This is subjective. You might think this, even if the event weren’t a “disaster.” I saw 1,000 people out enjoying the day, kids running around, people laughing, neighbors talking. It’s a community event that brought out the community. In my (subjective) opinion, it was worth it.

    2. Next year we will have more
      Next year we will have more marshmallows. This was a pilot project. A massive turnout and “complete waste of money” do not compute.

      Speaking of money, I certainly hope that Evanston Now applies the same attention to the costs of other programs as it did to this.

    3. Boondoggle
      The same day, the Chicago Tribune says Evanston has a big cash shortfall and has to select programs which could be eliminated. This boondoggle would be my suggestion.

  2. Good Friday Marshmallow Drop

    And the nexus between Easter Sunday and marshmallows dropping from the sky is?

    1. Nexus

      Hi Frankie,

      Don’t think you’d want too close a nexus between a religious event and a civic one, now would you?

      But if non-religious-symbol “Easter Bunny” can traditionally hide eggs around a yard for kids to go searching for, having kids run to grab marshmallows dropped from a helicopter perhaps offers a way to scale-up that tradition for a mass audience. What do you think?

      — Bill

  3. Children with disabilities
    How would my child with disabilities participate in this fiasco?

    1. Great point—suggestions and getting involved

      Thank you for reminding us that not all children are similarly situated and some children may need an event tailored for their abilities.  Below is a link to an article with ideas from other communities offering egg hunts, including an organization that provides free plastic eggs that beep for children with visual impairments to hunt.

      Please contact the City of Evanston to volunteer to make events like these possible for even more kids:

  4. Marshmallow drop

    A really cute, inmnovative idea. Too bad the marshmallows were not to be eaten… I have to say these comments are so funny, they made me laugh out loud! thank you, Bill Smith and all participants.

    1. Gay, children could exchange
      Gay, children could exchange the marshmallows collected from the ground for tasty, more palatable ones!

  5. Marshmallow Drop

    Having moved from Evanston to New Mexico 8 years ago, I must confess I am stuck on following the news as reported by my former neighbor Bill Smith.  Leave it to Evanston to contrive a silly, pretty much safe, non-sectarian alternative to Easter egg rolls or fireworks.  My tongue is stuck to my cheek as I enjoy the byplay about this creative endeavor.  Sorry we were not in town to participate.

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