Were you one to throw away tomatoes as a child when there were sweeter and tastier things going around the table? Welcome to the La Tomatina festival, where you can launch your tomatoes at every busy body around you. There are no limits or followed rules at the biggest of all food fights.
Indeed, for 364 days a year the town of Bunol, Valencia is at peace. However on the last Wednesday of every August, anarchy descends upon these neck of the woods as it welcomes the world with trucks of tomatoes. It is quite fitting that this festival came about after a random and sporadic food fight one fine day in the town’s market. Such was the impact that it has given Bunol a significant presence on the world map and defined its modern day history.
Attendees are initially entertained by watching the large majority of participants hopelessly fail at attempting to climb a grease smothered pole to claim the ham (locally known as Palo Jabon). Until this has been achieved the tomato throwing should not proceed. In reality come 11 a.m the tomato trucks are in full motion and soar through the crowds as the splatters of tomato skins and seeds emerge. Whilst the rules of La Tomatina do state that you must ‘squeeze’ the tomato before chucking it, such is the frenzy unfolding that participants launch their tomatoes as if they are trying to create records for the longest distance or fastest speed thrown! Suffice to say dress as lightly as possible!
The local residents and shopkeepers will throw buckets of water from their rooftops to keep the crowds ‘cool’ amongst the organised chaos unfolding on the narrow town streets. You may find that you inadvertently taste the local tomatoes during the food fight. Indeed, they are worth savouring as come noon the tomato trucks seize operation. Thereafter many participants simply lay in the pool of tomatoes.
Be sure to bring a spare pair of clothes should you be travelling to La Tomatina by coach, as you won’t be allowed back on the coach until you are tomato residue free!