If you’ve ever had the urge to walk up to someone and peg them in the face with a ripe, juicy tomato, you may want to consider booking a trip to Buñol, Spain next year to attend La Tomatina festival – otherwise known as one of the world’s biggest annual food fights.
Every year, thousands of participants, both native and otherwise, flock to the event to douse each other in tomato juice and fling tomatoes at just about anything that is capable of walking.
Tens of thousands of people pelted each other with 120 tons of ripe tomatoes Wednesday in an annual battle that left the eastern Spanish town of Bunol awash in red pulp.
Bunol’s town hall estimated that around 40,000 people, including many tourists, took part in the hour-long street fight known as the Tomatina.
This year’s Tomatina festival had an impressive number of participants, and the result was just as chaotic as you might expect. Once the loud shot rang across the streets to signal the start of the tomato fight, everyone was a target – even reporters covering the event.
By the time the second shot fired off to signal the end of the fight, just about everything in sight was covered in red. As the fight ended and the participants were beginning to leave the scene, it was time for the cleaning crews to come in and clean up a ton of pulp, juice and mutilated tomatoes.
As grand of a spectacle and, to be honest, fun as it all looks, it started off as something much simpler. Back in 1944, a group of young men, frustrated that they were unable to participate in a parade, decided to stir up trouble.
The nearest thing to them happened to be a vegetable stand, so they grabbed as many tomatoes as they could and started hurling them at people in attendance as well as those participating. This didn’t go over well with the police, however, as they broke up the ‘fight’ of sorts and forced the young men to pay for any damages.
They didn’t learn their lesson, though. The following year, the group showed up again, this time with their own tomatoes, and started hurling tomatoes with reckless abandon. After doing it again for several more years, it started to catch on, and thus the Tomatina festival was born.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really glad the Tomatina festival exists.
Check all the photos, videos, news tips…on www.latomatina.org
Hope to see you near Buñol next 31 th September 2012!!!!!