La Tomatina 2015: Spain’s tomato fight festival turns 70
The world’s biggest tomato fight, La Tomatina, Wednesday celebrated its 70th anniversary in Spain all the way through the streets of Buñol (southeast), where 22,000 tourists and residents were happily wallowing in the grout.
Thousands of revelers from around the world – British, Japanese, Indian, Australian, Kuwaiti, Lebanese – had converged on this town of 9,000 inhabitants, 40 km from Valencia, determined to miss nothing of this tradition, which would be born in 1945 a brawl between young people in a market.
From 11:00, seven trucks began to swing the tomatoes into the crowd. In less than an hour, “more than 170 tons” of fruit, according to an organizers tweet, served as ammunition for revelers.
Immersed in the sea of people, boys and girls – sometimes equipped with diving goggles and swim caps – were taken to target before walls stained red or stretched in all the crushed pulp. “I’ll go three months without eating tomatoes, I am disgusted, but it does not matter,” launched a participating twenty years before the television cameras.
The mayor, Rafael Perez, said in a radio microphone that the “unique” success of this festival was that everyone could romp there. “There are countries where, perhaps, it was more difficult to express the feelings. The Japanese example are very cold people, hieratic, and any change completely when they get here.”
Classified as a National Tourist Interest, having been forbidden under the dictatorship of Franco, the Tomatina limited this year the number of participants to 22,000, while the festival had attracted up to 45,000 in 2012.
The city council has also launched a campaign called “kisses for equality”, to denounce homophobia and violence against women: all couples, whatever they are, were invited to kiss greedily to the media.
Young tourists arrived by bus from Barcelona, Benidorm or Malaga, liquor brick in hand … Some were offered the pack at 185 euros including travel, two nights camping, a wine festival for heating the day before, barbecue and sangria galore to get the tomato.
On the internet, a travel agent had recommended, in English, the “girls” to go with “Adjusted sports bra” or in “jersey and shorts.” He added: “Plan to throw everything you wear.” On TV, a man of about forty years has also ensured “tomato onto his identity card.”
This was the second pay Tomatina, the municipality of having left for sale 17 000 tickets at 10 euros, leaving another 5,000 residents.
This marketing should help bail out Buñol, which is drowning in debt like many Spanish cities since the crisis of 2008. The organizers also ensured that a portion of the profits would go to an Indian NGO.