Approximately 40,000 revelers descended on Buñol, Spain, Wednesday, for their annual tomato-pelting festival, known as La Tomatina. La Tomatina is essentially a one-hour food fight held on the last Wednesday of August each year, where festival-goers throw around 100 tons of over-ripe tomatoes at each other. (Check out the photos of Wednesday's tomato chaos, below.) Some festival participants compete in a paella cooking contest the night before the food fight.
Jaunted writes on the rules of La Tomatina:
The tomato-throwing event starts with a ham placed upon a large greasy pole at 11 a.m. Someone has to climb to the top and take it down. Once that happens, a cannon will be fired and the messy mayhem begins. The sure-to-stain-your-clothes tomato fight lasts up two hours, until the cannon fires again.
Food fight rules require that you smush the tomatoes before throwing 'em, refrain from tearing others' clothes and don't bring anything that may provoke someone into a more serious brawl, such as a glass bottle. This is supposed to be fun, folks. Organizers recommend wearing goggles to protect your peepers from the acidy tomatoes. And obviously, wear clothes you can dispose of afterward.
2010's La Tomatina, by the numbers:
9,940: Bunol, Spain's population
100: tons of ripe tomatoes hauled in by the town council
35,000: dollars the town council spent on the tomatoes (28,000 Euros)
70,000: the town's budget for the festival, in dollars, most of which was spent on cleaning, security and toilets
60: years La Tomatina has occurred