A fan of tomatoes?
If you have ever felt the urge to throw a tomato at a loved one, then we have the perfect vacation experience for you. The annual La Tomatina Festival occurs e in the town of Buñol in the Valencia region of Spain. This event is typically held on the last Wednesday in the month of August and attended by tens of thousands of people who come from all over the world to take part in this harmless battle.
Approximately 30,000 people come to the annual tomato fight. It is a huge influx for the town each year as their normal population is roughly 9,000 residents. Because the town is so small, there are not a lot of accommodations available in town, however, many participants stay in Valencia and travel by bus or train to Buñol to take part in the festivities.
The actual festival is a week-long celebration that features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks.
On the night before the tomato fight, participants of the festival compete in a paella cooking contest and in preparation for the mess that will ensue, shopkeepers cover their storefronts in sheets of plastic. Several tons of over-ripe tomatoes are used as projectiles during this event and are brought in from outside of town.
Preparations for the event includes a multitude of trucks that haul in the bounty of tomatoes to the center of the town or the Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes are supplied by Extremadura, ensuring they are less expensive and usually slightly damaged. Around 11 a.m., the first event of the Tomatina begins. A ham is placed upon a Cockaigne pole (a large, greased pole), and the tomato fight can begin only when someone is able to climb to the top and bring it down. It is a highly competitive part of the tradition as people struggle against each other, even going so far to climb atop one another, in order to be the one to pull down the ham. Once the ham has been retrieved, a cannon is fired, signaling the start of the fight.
Participants can be guaranteed that once it begins, the battle is generally every man for himself, pretty messy, and a whole lot of fun. As a side note, those who chose to partake in this event are strongly encouraged to wear protective safety goggles and gloves.