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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

La Tomatina: The Biggest Food Fight on the Planet

(Images via: World Nomads, Valencia Trader and the Sydney Morning Herald)

Once a year, tens of thousands of tourists gather in a town in Spain to hurl over one hundred tons of overripe tomatoes … all in just one hour. When the festival is called to a halt fire houses are used to clean the streets as well as the participants. For this brief but amazing food fight the size of the town quadruples, drawing visitors from all over the world to participate in the largest spaghetti sauce bath of all time.

(Images via: Funny Mos, Ifood, Espacio Blog and Wayfaring)

Participants in La Tomatina are encouraged to wear safety gear such as goggles and forbidden to bring anything that could be used as an actual weapon into the fray. Nonetheless, clothing is typically torn and outfits are trashed within the brief free-for-all hour of the main event. Strangely enough, though, the acidity of the tomatoes renders the ground underneath essentially clean once the tomatoes are washed away.

In recent years the festival has become such a phenomenon that parties surrounding it start up to a week early and participants in many cases must stay multiple towns away from Bunol - and may have trouble getting into the middle of the tamato fight itself once it starts on the narrow streets of the town. Strangely, no one is quite certain how the festival started decades ago though theories abound as to its origins. For a more extended peak check out the SciFi Channel’s feature on the festival.