The festival de la tomatina en Espana is such a big draw that thousands converge every year in Bunol to celebrate the occasion. Over one hundred metric tonnes of ripe tomatoes are used during the hour-long festival so that everyone can enjoy the mayhem. The streets of the town get completely soaked with tomatoes so that the cobblestone streets turn completely red during the melee. People from across the world make way to this town so that they can enjoy the festivities first-hand.
Although the festival started in Bunol in 1944 or 1945 yet no one is very clear about how it started. One theory says that there was a food fight among teenagers while others say that onlookers at a carnival parade threw tomatoes on the parade. A popular theory also goes by the account that annoyed townspeople attacked the councilmen of the city at the time of a celebration in town. But whatever may be its history, the event was enjoyed by everyone and continued to be celebrated year after year.
At about 11 a.m., truckloads of ripe tomatoes are brought from Extremadura to the city centre of Bunol, Plaza del Pueblo. Technically, the La Tomatina festival activities start when a person climbs atop a two-story high greased wooden pole and fetches the ham from its top. However, it takes a long time for someone to reach there while in the meantime water cannon are fired and that signals the fight to happen!
Once the festival starts, it goes on for the following one hour. Anyone can hit anyone at the venue with tomatoes and revel in the fun. After an hour, no more throwing is allowed as fire trucks arrive at the scene so that the streets can be sprayed down with water for cleaning. When tomato pulp is completely flushed out, the town wears a very decent look. However, for visitors, they have to fend for themselves with some reaching out to the nearby Bunol River whereas for other, some kind town residents may be helpful.
Before 2013, the festival used to witness a mammoth crowd of about 40,000 to 50,000 people and that used to be quite a concern for the authorities of the small town. In fact, in 2012, the figure was pegged at a whopping 50,000 people participating at the La Tomatina! From 2013 onwards, ticketing has been introduced that limits the number of participants to 20,000 so that now only the lucky ones can make it.
While celebrating La Tomatina, it is important for everyone not to bring any bottles or any hard object that can inflict an injury. Similarly, prior to throwing, tomatoes must be squashed to reduce its impact on others. People should not tear the clothes of other participants and as soon as the second shot is fired, participants should stop throwing tomatoes at each other.
While the festival only takes place for an hour, the La Tomatina festival significance is much more. The weeks leading to the last Wednesday of August are full of action in and around the city. Not many people know that the town celebrates the arrival of La Tomatina in their own merry-making manner. In Bunol, many types of events, cooking competitions, parades, and fireworks are held during the period to mark the arrival of the festival.
Bunol is quite a small town that hardly has a population of about 9,000 and hence the staying options for tourists can be limited. As a matter of fact, it has only a single hotel that may not be available a few days prior to the festival and hence the La Tomatina festival dates should be confirmed. A plausible staying option can be the city of Valencia that is just 38-km by bus or train. Therefore, this aspect must be taken into consideration.
Visiting La Tomatina festival 2019 can be an experience of a lifetime as it is the largest food fight celebration across the world. Tying up with hellotravel.com can help in realizing it so that one can witness a wonderful extravaganza that will not erase from one’s memory.