Date for La Tomatina in Bunol this year is 28 August 2012
Imagine a whole street transformed into a mock stage of sorts, seemingly straight out of some medieval play, where tomatoes unwittingly play the twin roles of protagonist and antagonist. Or, imagine one colossal pasta bowl of a street where thousands upon thousands of people unknowingly take the form of giant pastas smeared red with thousands upon thousands of tomatoes hurled from everywhere and anywhere, in a controlled chaos of fun.
You like that? Well grab your calendars and highlight the 28th August 2012 to make way for La Tomatina Tomato Fight in Buñol, one of the most unusual festivals in the world.
11 tons of Ripe, Surplus Tomatoes
La Tomatina Tomato Fight is the highlight of a week-long festivity in Buñol, 30 miles outside Valencia, Spain. A rocket goes off, trucks full of tomatoes roll in, mayhem begins, and the street bursting full of people are transformed into one colossal blender. Churning 11 tons or so of ripe, surplus tomatoes by a frenzied crowd throwing tomatoes at each other, by stomping and by quashing and, by the end of an hour right at the moment a second rocket goes off signaling the end of the fanfare, a river of marinara sauce is dribbling down everyone’s body, dripping down the walls, and flowing under your feet down the street. Yes, the spectacle is over in just one hour of fun.
Why a Lot of Food is wasted for “Just an Hour of Fun”
There has been opposition regarding these types of festival, arguing this amount of food could be used to help our less fortunate brothers in the third world who have nothing to eat. Isolated or otherwise, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. But you know, tomato throwing is way much better than throwing bombs on civilian homes just like what is happening in Homs. Besides, the number one problem in the third world has never been about food security, but rather, about cultural and political corruption. Even a hundred tons of tomatoes given every year to the third world will never wash their problems away. Well, I’m just saying…
A Few Rules and Tips to Total Tomato Domination
As with any controlled mayhem, there are basic rules everyone must follow to ensure safety and to prevent emotions from flaring up.
You should never bring bottles of any sort, whether plastic or, heaven forbid, glass bottles to the area. When those tomatoes start flying like missiles to the air, you can just as easily forget and throw the bottle you are holding to retaliate when a tomato land smack on your face. When that happens, a riot will surely start and a real fight will take place ruining the festive air.
You should make way for the trucks which carry the tomatoes. You would never want to be the unlucky target of everyone by holding up those trucks because people just can’t wait a moment longer to get hold of those tomatoes.
Always squash a tomato before you throw them because somebody might get hurt especially when you happen to throw a missile-cum-tomato that lands smack on the unfortunate nose of someone.
Join in the fun shirtless, which is simple if you are a man. But if you are a woman, be sure to avoid any open area in the crowd, as that is where the shirt rippers hang around and why no one else is standing there.
Never wear flip flops, but do not go barefooted, either. You will surely lose your flip flops very quickly. If you go barefoot, you will surely lose your balance because tomatoes, lying harmlessly on those wet cobblestones, are way more slippery than banana peels. Better wear a pair of sneakers you can just easily throw away afterwards.
PRO TIP: Wear goggles or even a mask so tomato does not get into your eyes. Believe me, it stings rather painfully. You would never want to spot a red eye flight back home.
Keeping the slate clean
By following these simple rules and tips, you are guaranteed to have the time of your life. Don’t worry too much about other people. You will go just to have some healthy, extraordinary fun and, so will everyone else. If it will help remove any lingering doubt, there has been no reported mishap or incident in more than 60 years of La Tomatina Tomato Fight in Buñol. It is way better for everyone to keep the slate clean.
Fighting for Accommodation!
Buñol is just a small town of about 9,000 souls on any other day of the year, but the population can easily swell up to 60,000 on the last Wednesday of August, the day of La Tomatina. Owing to lack of any place to stay, majority of those who travel for the tomato fight stay in Valencia, and just make the train trip to Buñol for the day of the festival.