‘Balloon-free Laguna Beach’ campaign launched as local law banning product’s sales goes into effect

Jeremy Frimond, assistant to the city manager, demonstrates different types of balloons to the Laguna Beach City Council.
Jeremy Frimond, left, assistant to the city manager, demonstrates different types of balloons to the Laguna Beach City Council during a meeting last January.
(Andrew Turner)

An ordinance restricting the sale and public use of all balloons in Laguna Beach went into effect on New Year’s Day.

The city is now promoting a “balloon-free Laguna Beach” campaign on its website, serving as a reminder of the action taken by the City Council in the first quarter of 2023.

A grace period had been extended for implementation of the ordinance following its adoption on Feb. 21. As of Jan. 1, a handful of regulations have gone into effect regarding the sale and use of balloons by individuals and local businesses.


The use of any balloon is now prohibited at city-sponsored events and on city-owned property or in public areas. A person should not intentionally release a balloon into the air.

No business located within the city limits may sell or distribute balloons, although balloons may be purchased from businesses outside of Laguna Beach for private events in town. That provision allows for balloons to be used on commercial and residential properties.

Local businesses are being encouraged to phase out balloons from their inventory and inform customers of related changes. A notice published online by the city also urged businesses to train staff to be knowledgeable about the ordinance as it seeks compliance with the new regulations.

Penalties associated with the ordinance include a fine of up to $100 for the first violation, a fine not to exceed $200 for a second offense within one year, and a fine of up to $500 for a third violation in that time frame. A business license could be revoked for any further violations.

The action was first proposed with environmental and public safety issues in mind. Proponents of a balloon ban argued that balloons could be harmful to marine and wildlife when they end up in those habitats.

The ordinance also referenced the Ocean Conservancy in stating balloons are dangerous debris items, as they can be mistaken as food by animals.

Southern California Edison reported 802 balloon-related power outages in 2022. Those incidents resulted in an interruption in service for 1.1 million customers.

State law already required balloons made of electrically conductive material filled with a gas lighter than air to be attached to an object of sufficient weight to keep them from flying away at the time of distribution or sale.