DESCRIBED as the ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight’ – Spain’s La Tomatina festival took place earlier today Wednesday, August 29, 2018.
Buñol, just 38km inland from Valencia, saw 22,000 paying revellers throw tomatoes at each other for a hour during the fruit-flinging event.
At around 11am in the town’s main square, Plaza del Pueblo, trucks delivered some 180,000 tomatoes – an estimated 160 tonnes – ripe for pelting.
Held as part of week-long village festivities the event has been declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest.
The event began in 1945 when fighting youths in the village square threw tomatoes at each other from a nearby vegetable stall before police broke up the fight. For several subsequent years they repeated it, bringing their own tomatoes and eventually – after at one time being banned – the tradition was established with rules.
The town hall in the Valencian village took over the organisation in 1980, with tomatoes being squashed before throwing to avoid injuries.
Once the start of the mid-morning fight is given, tomato-laden lorries enter the village centre and exactly one hour later the fighting ends.
Fire engines hose down the streets and revellers use hoses that locals provide to remove the tomato paste from their bodies.
Although it does seem like an hour of tomatoey chaos, there are rules in place to prevent injuries:
- Do not take bottles or hard objects
- Do not rip other people’s T-shirts
- You must squash the tomatoes before throwing them as this reduces the impact
- Ensure you keep a safe distance from the lorries
- As soon as you hear the second shot, you must stop throwing tomatoes
- It is also advisable not to wear flip-flops, and use old clothes you don’t intend to wear again.
- Take a waterproof camera if you want to take pictures!