Warning: If you’re allergic to tomatoes, then this festival is not for you! La Tomatina is an exciting and characteristic event of the town of Buñol in Spain. Each year the festival takes place on the last Wednesday in August and sees around 20,000 people pack the streets of the town to throw around one hundred thousand kilograms of over-ripe tomatoes at each other. Sounds delicious, right?
Rumour has it that it all began in 1945 when some local teenagers, taking part in the traditional processions, decided to create their own fun within the parade. One of them took some tomatoes from a market stall and hurled them at the others, who reacted instantaneously, giving rise to an impulsive vegetable fight.
Want to know more? Here’s the low down of the festival and some handy tips:
At 11am the La Tomatina begins and participants paint the town red, snatching, crushing and launching tomatoes at everyone in sight until everything and everybody is submerged in red. This unique festival is the largest food fight on the planet and its huge rapport has turned it into a Festival of International Tourist Interest, since 2002. Drinking before the festival is all part of the fun, but be advised – Long before the tomatoes arrive you’ll be squeezed into position until 1pm when the fight is called to an end, meaning that there will be no opportunity to dash off to the toilet.
What to wear
The best attire for the day of festival:
- An old t-shirt and shorts – make sure these are durable because it gets pretty crazy in there and preferably have a waist tie on your shorts to keep them from coming off
- Bathers/Togs/Swimmers – in case your shorts do come off or your shirt gets ripped
- Closed in shoes – an old pair of runners will do the job, not thongs/flip-flops/jandals!
- Goggles – a common tactic used by many to prevent the dreaded tomato juice in the eye. Prone to failure, but worth the try!
Rules of La Tomatina
The following rules have been set down by the Buñol Town Council:
- It is illegal to bring any kind of bottles or other objects that could cause an accident
- You must not tear t-shirts
- Tomatoes must be crushed before throwing so that they don’t hurt anybody
- You must be careful to avoid the Lorries which carry the tomatoes
- As soon as you hear the 2nd banger, you must stop throwing tomatoes
Be prepared, by the end of the festival you will literally look like a tomato. You will be covered from head to toe and reek of tomato. You’ll find a few nice surprises in the next days or weeks with bits of tomato seeds stuck in your hair. But hey, it’s all part of the fun!
See traveltalktours.com for more information on La Tomatina Tours. Prices start from £179 per person and vary from 3 to 5 day tours.