La Tomatina is a food fight festival held every year on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near Valencia in Spain. Bunol is situated about 38 km west of the provincial and autonomous community capital city of Valencia. Around thousands of people make their way from all places of the world to fight in this ‘World’s Biggest Food Fight’ where there are more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes is thrown in the streets of Spain. The festival is a week-long festival. The festival features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks. Approximately around 40,000 to 50,000 people come to this enormous Tomato Fight and are greatly expanding Bunol’s normal 9,000 person population.
On the morning of the 28th August 2013 (this year), lots of trucks will empty out tones of tomatoes into the Plaza del Pueblo, and in a bizarre twist of custom, the festival initiates after someone has reached a prized ham atop a greased-up wooden pole. This can be tricky, and people often become intolerant and start the tomato throwing whether or not the ham has been recovered. Water cannons gives indication of the beginning of the fight, and the gather round crowds embark on a mission of relentless food throwing.
And at the end of the fight, the water cannons will fire and give signal once again to say that the throwing must stop. Fire trucks will then reach to blast the tomato remainder off the streets, with some residents offering to hose down sticky, sodden revelers themselves.
For travellers, It is suggested don’t bring an luxurious and expensive cameras as it will most likely be soaked in tomato juice which can cause permanent damage, so if you must take photos, you should take a waterproof disposable camera. Furthermore, sturdy shoes, as flip flops or flimsy sandals will probably get lost in the crowd. La Tomatina is great entertaining and fun, and certainly an event you’ll talk about in years to come.
If you are coming to see Bunol at its attractive best, than it is suggested not to come during this festival. Shopkeepers use huge plastic sheets to cover their shop fronts to avoid getting discolored with tomato juice, so don’t expect to be appreciative much of the town’s architecture.