Tomato Massacre – La Tomatina| Event Review

La Tomatina is a festival held in the Valencian town of Buñol, where the people who wish to participate, throw tomatoes at one another for the ultimate tomato fight.  The festival takes place on the last Wednesday of every August and people love to get involved.  There’s something about getting soaked in Tomato juice that seems to put a great big smile on everyone’s face. Dump trucks are brought to the scene and people get to dive in and start throwing tomatoes.  All the action is followed by celebrations of food and drink and dance.  Over 150,000 tomatoes are used every year which come from Extremadura, a less expensive tomato.

At 11:00am canons sound by exploding tomato-packed rockets at the people to commence the event.  Over 30,000 people show up for the tomato throw down.  In 2013, city officials introduced an entry fee and limited the number of participants, citing concerns over safety.  At 12:00p.m. the canons sound again signaling that the tomato throwing has come to its end.

Tomato Throwing Pointers:

  • Participants must use goggles and gloves.
  • All tomatoes must be crushed before bring thrown to avoid risk of injury.
  • No other projectiles are allowed to be thrown.

The whole idea of a Tomato throwing festival wasn’t an idea at all but an angry play that took place back in August of 1945, when a group of young people went into the town square to attend the Giants and Big-Heads figures parade.  The young group decided to cheer with a musician but through the excitement, caused one person to fall off of a float.  This created a storm from the fallen participant getting up from the ground and hitting everyone in his path, causing an apparent uproar in the crowd.

A nearby vegetable stand stood where there were tomatoes and people automatically began pelting one another with them.  This was the start of what has become known as La Tomatina.  There were years after the first tomato was thrown, where locals battled with authorities and were briefly sent to jail, until the town finally got permission to throw tomatoes at one another without law enforcement intervening.  Authorities finally allowed tomato throwing one day a year, making the event official.