Avoid Missing Out At La Tomatina 2016
Do you love food fights? Do you wish you could go back to school just to have one? Or, do you secretly wish you could throw a sandwich in your boss’s face? Well, it might prove a little problematic to achieve either of these things.
But, you can engage in the biggest food fight on the world stage: La Tomatina 2016.
This epic tomato throwing festival (the name should give that one away) happens on the last Wednesday of August each year and commands at least 20,000 people (at one stage 60,00 people were reported in the year 2012 before it became a ticketed event). They are all packed into the little town of Buñol that neighbors the Spanish town of Valencia (you guessed it, in this case it’s about another fruit: oranges).
Yes, the Spanish sure love their produce and La Tomatina is once again sure to prove itself to be the granddaddy of food fights. The 2016 festival will take place on the morning of the 31st of August in the Plaza del Pueblo. Some 140 tonnes of tomatoes will rain down on participants during the event. Remember everyone is a target and cameras are seen as a strong invitation to be pelted by ripe fruit.
Indeed, there is no escape from squishy lycopene rich goodness during the blockbuster event that is La Tomatina. Biggest word of advice: bring goggles. Those tomatoes are acidic by nature. But rest assured, after the raucous red madness has taken place you will have a memory that isn’t likely to fade. Much like the stains on your clothes.
The official festivities will begin at 10am. The first challenge of the event is the pablo jabon or “greasy pole”. Sounds rather hilarious, doesn’t it? And, YES it is just that. Worked up by a frenzied crowd who dance and sing, participants scramble up a slippery pole in order to knock off the ham that is suspended at the top. Once achieved, blasts of water shot by fire trucks as they make their entry into the plaza sees the food fight begin in earnest.
The craziness begins when the first person reaches the ham pole.
From the trucks ensue tomato after tomato in ruthless fury. It lasts for an hour, whereupon a signal ends the event. At this point you have what looks more like a mass murder than a mass food fight: the streets of the plaza run red with tomato juice. It’s now that the fire trucks serve their dual purpose and are put to use to clean up the pulpy mess.
There’s more to La Tomatina 2016 than meets the eye. I guess it stands to reason that you might just be a foodie if you have such a penchant for food fights. The region has much to offer in the way of culinary delights. During the week preceding the food fight you can attend the “Paella Cook Off” which sees chefs battle it out to produce the tastiest version of this classic Spanish dish. And, for those who appreciate all things squishy one must remember that the actual food fight event includes an unofficial wet t-shirt competition!
Keep in mind that since a couple of years limits have been placed on the numbers allowed at the event. With the attendance exploding year after year there is now a need to purchase a ticket. It will now cost a minimum of around 10 Euro to participate in the festivities. There are additional costs for further participation – climbing aboard the fire trucks for instance.
While it may seem strange to pay to throw tomatoes there are upsides to the ticketing, with the event now being afforded more of a measure of control and policing – and therefore safety. For tickets to the event there are a number of tours that organise them as a part of the package. Or, you can visit and purchase from the official La Tomatina webpage.
If you want to attend the festival (and let’s face it – it’s one thing that should be on your bucket list) you should watch some videos of the food fight in action just to understand how crazy it really is. Videos abound that show just how furiously and ferociously those tomatoes are pelted, thrown and catapulted. It surely is something that must be seen to be believed. La Tomatina 2016 will be no exception to the rule – a truly epic food fight to go down for the ages.
Ready for battle? Check out the only 5-star La Tomatina tour in Spain.