Get set, ready, throw!
Nearly 20,000 participants gathered at the world’s largest annual food fight involving 160 tons of tomatoes in Spain on Wednesday.
The La Tomatina festival has been held in a village outside of Buñol since 1945 and this year was no different. On top of that, the event takes place only on the third Wednesday of August.
While trucks transported the tomatoes ahead of time for the 71st event, people covered balconies with plastic sheets. House owners and shopkeepers boarded up their properties.
Thousands of locals and tourists flocked to a narrow street in the Spanish town of 10,000.
Although the tomato-throwing fiesta is a major tourist attraction now, it started off as an actual food fight, according to the International Business Times. Some claim it was because two boys used tomatoes from a vegetable stand to attack each other during a parade. Others believe the first tomatoes were thrown during an anti-government protest.
Nevertheless, this year’s tickets sold out quickly. The publication reported tickets costing $12 each. 5000 of the 22,000 tickets were free for local residents.
However, prior to 2013, anyone was allowed to join in on the food fight. There were 50,000 attendees in 2012 but the number was limited to about 20,000 people the following year for safety reasons.
On another note, there are only two rules for participants: no throwing hard objects and valuables, including cameras and phones, are to be left behind.
According to the LaTomatinaTours.com, trucks unloaded about 150,000 tomatoes onto the crowd at around 11 a.m. Although the festival usually begins after a person retrieves a ham at the top of a greasy wooden pole, sometimes the throwing starts despite that. The firing of water cannons signals the beginning of the food fight.
As with tradition, the saucy battle lasted for exactly an hour, according to the website. Afterwards, fire trucks sprayed down the streets.
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