La Tomatina is known all over the world for the best AND largest food fight there is. For people who are into getting down and dirty, this is THE festival for you to participate in. What goes on during this festival? People – tens of thousands of them – basically hit the streets flock to the town of Bunol, near Valencia, Spain. There are normally about 9,000 residents of the town but you can expect up to 40,000 people here on festival day.
The festivities normally start around 10 in the morning of the last Wednesday of August, when trucks haul in more than a hundred metric tons of over ripe tomatoes. The tomatoes usually come in from the neighboring town of Extremadura, where they are sold for cheaper. Technically, the food fight does not begin until a person climbs up top a two-storey greased pole to claim the bounty of a ham. However, this can take a while so the water cannons – the signal to begin throwing tomatoes at people – go off way before the ham is obtained. The food fight lasts for an hour and then the cannons go off again, signaling the end to the fight.
As you can surmise, participants really get all messed up during this fight. There are rules to be followed, however. One example is that people are supposed to squish the tomatoes before throwing them. More so, people are not allowed to bring in potentially harmful things such as bottles. Tearing and ripping of clothes is not allowed as well – although this happens a lot.
More than the food fight, however, the festival also highlights many other events all throughout the week. Some of these include musical performances, parades, dances, and fireworks. On the night before the food fight, a paella cooking contest is also held. Of course, it really is for the food fight that people go.
What are you waiting for? Don your goggles and practice that throwing arm!