The Tomato Fiesta
If you are in the town of Buñol, Valencia
on a Wednesday at the end of the August month, throwing tomatoes at someone in the afternoon will not get you behind the bars – for you will be a part of La Tomatina, the world's most festive tomato fight! While the population of Buñol is just 3000, it grows over ten times during this day and the week preceding the La Tomatina festival. The town and its tourists brace themselves for this two hour tomato throwing fiesta by being part of the week long music, dance and fireworks preceding this festival.
On the D-day, at 11 am, a large pole is greased, (also known as a cockaigne pole), and a ham is placed on the top of the pole. The event can begin only after somebody successfully climbs the pole and brings the ham down. Once this is done, the tomato throwing fiesta begins. The tomatoes are sourced from Extremadura and there are several trucks that carry tones of tomatoes to the center of Buñol, where the fight takes place. There are some basic rules for participating in the fight which include wearing of gloves and goggles as a precautionary measure.
Participants are also requested to squish tomatoes before throwing at their targets and trying to throw anything other than tomatoes is strongly discouraged. At around 1:00 pm, cannon is fired to signal the end of the fight. Fire trucks spray water all over the streets and most people clean themselves at the Buñol River.