After two years of absence due to Covid, nearly 15,000 people from all over the world took part in “La Tomatina”, the tomato battle in the town of Buñol, Spain, with 130 tons of tomatoes as ammunition. (very) ripe. Many of the participants wore sunglasses, swimming goggles or snorkeling masks to avoid splashing from tomatoes being unloaded from trucks or thrown by participants from the backs of vehicles. “We really wanted to find our beloved party, to be able to throw tomatoes at us again and release all the adrenaline accumulated over the past two years”, told the press María Vallés, in charge of tourism in this city of 9,500 inhabitants.
“La Tomatina” attracts curious people from all over the world. But this year, not all of the 20,000 tickets were sold. 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.
And as with every edition, there is no lack of critics 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.