Tomato is that versatile nutritious fruit that has become a valuable ingredient in many dishes all around the world. One country that has incredible love for this popular red fruit is Spain. Thus, it is not surprising that in the Spanish town of Bunol, the biggest tomato fight the world has ever seen is being celebrated annually.
La Tomatina Festival is the distinct food fight event held on the last Wednesday of August of every year. It attracts thousands of Spanish tourists and also other nationalities from all over. The town of Bunol is located near the Spanish region of Valencia. Its streets within the old town vicinity are the main venues for the fun tomato-throwing event. About 40,000 to 50,000 people participate in this amazing fight, making Bunol’s regular small population swell up during the one-week lone festival. If you are concerned about wasting tomatoes at the event, don’t worry. The world’s biggest food fight make use of only slightly over 100 metric tons of over- ripe tomatoes.
To protect the different shops surrounding the food fight venue, owners place plastic covers on their store facade before the tomato fight. Then several trucks carrying loads of tomatoes drive into the center of the town named Plaza del Pueblo. The first event of La Tomatina begins at about 11 am, and the firing of the water canon marks the start of the tomato battle, where every person is responsible for himself. After an hour, the water cannons are fired again to signal the end of the fight.
Participating in the La Tomatina Festival may be the most enjoyable and messiest experience you will ever have in your life. But because the event has the potential to get to rowdy, participants are asked to observe some rules. It is highly recommended that you wear protective goggles and gloves during the food fight. There is a possibility that some revelers will try to rip off your clothing, even though it is prohibited to do so. Glass bottles and hard objects are not allowed during the fight, and you must always squash the tomatoes before throwing them. It is best to wear closed shoes that can be thrown away as wearing flip flops can easily get your feet hurt. If you plan to take photos of the festivities, don’t forget to bring a waterproof or covered camera.
The tomato fight is not the only activity during La Tomatina. Expect a lot of dancing, firework displays, parades and even a cooking competition on the famous Spanish dish called paella. To control the number of people who can participate in the food fight, the local government has implemented a ticketing policy. Make sure to book the ticket well in advance.
There are many tour companies in Spain that offer entry tickets including accommodation, food and transport packages during the festival. Because accommodation options can be limited in the town itself, many travelers opt to stay in Bunol’s neighbor town Valencia, which is around 38 kilometers away. If you happen to have lodging in Valencia during La Tomatina, you can reach Bunol by driving or taking public transport like the train and bus. Fire away!