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La Tomatina

Thursday, October 8, 2009
The sunny Mediterranean city of Valencia in Spain is famous for its oranges. Just 50km away the town of Buñol is also famous for its produce, mainly the delicious tomatoes it grows.

For some unknown reason, maybe in 1944 or 1945, someone decided to throw a tomato. Someone threw one back and it all turned into an annual event.

On the last Wednesday of August each year, the charming little town erupts into a rather messy batalla (battle) as people gather to throw thousands of tomatoes at one another.

Kelly Landry went to have a look at La Tomatina, the world's largest vegetable fight which is the culmination of a week of festival events. Language is no barrier at Spain's strangest summer festival — everyone's too busy ducking and weaving to talk!

Around 100,000kg of tomatoes is thrown by up to 40,000 people who gather at 11am at Plaza del Pueblo, the town square. For a town with a population of just 9000, there are obviously lots of people who relish the thought of being covered in squashed tomato.

Another event is climbing a greasy pole to grab a ham sitting on top. This is one quirky town!

On a more serious note, the lead-up to La Tomatina is a festival of parties, concerts, parades, dances, a paella cook-out, fireworks and craft sales.

While the festival doesn't have a religious origin, it is a time to celebrate the town's patron saint, San Luis Bertran, a Dominican friar who died in 1581. The Virgin Mary is also revered.

Kelly has some advice for those who just can't wait to attend La Tomatina next year. Wear layers of old clothing — it will be ripped and permanently stained — and take a pair of goggles. There's nothing worse than acidic tomato in your eyes. You might like to spare a thought for the poor souls whose job it is to clean up afterwards.


Buñol, 50km from Valencia in Spain.

For further information

La Tomatina

Visas: Australians travelling to Spain do not require a visa.

Electricity: 230V at 50Hz using European plugs.

Time zone: GMT +2.

Currency: The euro.

International dialling code: +34.

User comments
How stupid! What a waste! This idiocy was ine 20 years ago, not in today's "climate".
Kind of worried of the crowd.. covered with squash tomato and clothes being ripped.. Will guys out there have touchy hands?? Saw Kelly Landry in the pic being surrounded and packed like sardines..

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