Ever wanted to take a food fight to the next level?
La Tomatina is a Spanish tomato-throwing festival that is held yearly on the last Wednesday of August in Buñol, Valencia, Spain. This rager started in 1945, when during an unrelated parade, onlookers threw tomatoes at local animals to discourage their eating watermelons. One person accidentally hit another participant with a tomato. Police stopped the ensuing fight. But it was too late. The Buñol villagers’ annual tomato war had unofficially begun!
By 1957, the idea behind La Tomatina gained enough traction to become an official town event. This festival has only risen in popularity since then. On average, forty tons (roughly 150,000 tomatoes) are used each year.
As recently as 2013, the Buñol Town Hall found itself limiting the headcount to 20,000 tomato-throwers, with 15,000, or three-fourths, of the tickets sold to foreigners! Spin-offs of La Tomatina can be found all over the world, as seen in the “Colorado-Texas Tomato War”, the “Great Tomato War” in Quillón, Chile, and the “Tomato Blast” in Chicago.
Here’s how to emulate this Spanish tradition:
(1) Wait until a warm summer day.
(2) Locate a secluded outdoor area, such as a backyard or local park, where your friends can safely create a tomato-juicy extravaganza.
(3) Buy the cheapest, grossest tomatoes you can find. The worse-tasting, the better.
(4) Enlist friends to help you cut some of the tomatoes into smaller pieces. This helps the fight last longer, and also helps prevent injury from the force of a full tomato.
(5) Once everyone has arrived, divide everyone into two teams.
(6) Set a timer for one hour.
(7) Begin throwing tomatoes! #partyhard
(8) Once the timer signals the end of the hour, stop throwing.
(9) Hose off the area, as well as anyone who wants a quick shower.
There’s no one correct way to have a tomato fight. The above guidelines can be adjusted as necessary. Bottom line is: if everyone had fun in the process of getting (extraordinarily) messy, rest assured—your Tomatina has succeeded.
Turn Up Tip: Ratchet up the intensity of the fight by asking partygoers to bring swimming goggles and kitchen gloves as protective “battle gear”.