Food fights are the stuff of movie legend; many are the films which have featured one variety or another, ranging from the classic comedies of Animal House and Blazing Saddles to the famed unusued pie fight ending of Dr. Strangelove. In real life, however, they’re rarely encountered – and whey they do crop up, they’re typically limited to one person throwing things at another, possibly with return fire.
I say “typically”. Then there’s La Tomatina.
A yearly event in Bunol, Spain, it has grown since its inception in the mid-1940s. The town of about 9,000 people more than triples in size every year during the event, where more than 100 tons of overripe tomatoes are flung at each other by participants during a wild day in the last week of August.
Until 2013 anyone was allowed to throw the fruit (including at those who insist they’re vegetables), but the town decided to ensure there would continue to be enough tomatoes – and to gain the money for the cleaning afterward – by requiring tickets for the event. There is now an upper limit of 20,000 people able to engage in the brawl every year, and those tickets consistently sell out. Another few thousand typically arrive just to watch.
Local shopkeepers and homeowners often erect thick plastic sheets to protect their buildings from the mildly acidic splatter.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite tomato or tomato-sauced (including ketchup) dish?