The tomato battle returns after two years of absence in Buñol
‘La Tomatina’ made its comeback on Wednesday after a two-year absence due to the pandemic. This famous tomato fight that attracts thousands of tourists to the town of Buñol, 50 km from Valencia in Spain.
Some 15,000 people took part in this battle, with 130 tonnes of (very) ripe tomatoes as ammunition, according to figures provided by the town hall. A few minutes after kick-off, the city was colored red, like the clothes of the participants who are traditionally dressed in white.
Many of the attendees wore sunglasses, goggles or snorkeling goggles to avoid splashing in their eyes from tomatoes being unloaded from trucks or thrown by attendees from the backs of vehicles.
The battle, which lasts an hour, is followed by a party that lasts until evening in this town of 9,500 inhabitants.
The ‘Tomatina’ attracts curious people from all over the world but this year, the 20,000 tickets were not sold in full. A drop in attendance attributed, according to María Vallés, to the health restrictions remaining in force in certain countries.
The origin of the festival dates back to a dispute that occurred during the town festival in 1945 and which ended in a fight over tomatoes found on the stall of a greengrocer. Since then, critics abound to denounce food waste.
‘A lot of people think that we throw away food,’ defends María Vallés, ‘but it’s a tomato grown especially for the Tomatina. If the Tomatina didn’t take place, we wouldn’t plant it.
‘Thanks to the Tomatina, many farmers will experience a better winter’, she concludes, referring to the orders that the municipality places with them in anticipation of the event.
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