Anyone who reads this blog knows that I always enjoy a good quirky town event. And tomorrow is what I consider the mother of all quirky town events. It’s La Tomatina.
Every year on the last Wednesday in August, in the small industrial town of Buñol, Spain (population approximately 9,500), more than 30,000 people gather to partake in an epic battle. An epic tomato-throwing battle.
Here’s how it plays out: Thirty-thousand people come to town early and enjoy a breakfast of chorizo and rose wine. Meanwhile, trucks roll in from the countryside, bringing in about 140 tons of tomatoes. By 11:00 AM, with everyone feeling sufficiently festive (see chorizo and rose wine), things start to get very interesting.
A tomato-filled rocket is shot into the air, at which point all hell breaks loose. Every man, woman and child begins flinging tomatoes at each other. A lot of tomatoes. After a short time the entire town, and everyone in it, is covered in red.
There are only a couple rules: throw only pre-squashed tomatoes, and don’t throw anything besides tomatoes. People tend to wear old clothes and safety goggles, though tomato-soaked shirts are often torn off by the end of the madness. The tomato mayhem goes on for about two hours, at which point another rocket launch signifies the end, and everyone happily helps in the big-time clean-up effort.