Today, on August 26, 2009, more than 45,000 people from all over the world descended on the small Valencian town of Bunol, Spain to experience the world famous tomato fight. The local town hall estimated that over 100 tons of rotten and over-ripe tomatoes were thrown. Now in its 64th year, the Tomatina Festival lives on as one of the messiest, coolest, and most awesomest festivals ever.
Here’s how the event progresses from the Tomatina website.
“At 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. People struggle against each other, climbing atop one another, in order to be the one to pull down the ham. With this victory, the tomato-throwing begins.
Many trucks haul the bounty of tomatoes into the center of the town, Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive. The signal for the beginning of the fight is firing of the cannon, and the chaos begins. Once it begins, the battle is generally every man for himself. Those who partake in this event are strongly encouraged to wear protective safety goggles and gloves. In addition, they must squish the tomatoes before throwing for safety precautions. Another rule is that no one is allowed to bring into this fight anything that may provoke someone into a more serious brawl, such as a glass bottle. It is highly frowned upon to tear someone else’s clothing. Somewhere between an hour and two hours, the fighting ends and the cannon is fired once more to signal the end. At this point no more tomatoes can be thrown. The cleaning process involves the use of fire trucks to spray down the streets, with water provided from a Roman aqueduct. People find water to wash themselves, most likely at the Buol River.”