Thousands Turn Out for Spain's Annual 'Tomatina' Fight

Thousands Turn Out for Spain's Annual 'Tomatina' Fight
Thousands of revelers hurled at least 145 tons of tomatoes at each other Wednesday during the annual "Tomatina" festival in the eastern Spanish town of Bunol.


With a firecracker blast marking the start of "La Tomatina" shortly before noon local time, at least six trucks loaded with tomatoes drove through Bunol's main street, providing red ammunition for the revelers to fight each other for the next hour.


The event takes its origins from a spontaneous food fight that broke out amongst villagers in 1945. It was banned for a time during the 1950s at the height of General Francisco Franco's dictatorship, but has gained popularity again since it was reinstated, drawing a huge international crowd.


The Tomatina attracts thousands of participants and onlookers from Spain and around the world to Bunol, one of the country's prime tomato-producing areas. The Reuters news agency reports that at one time, the festival involved up to 45,000 participants. Now, it has become a ticketed event with only 22,000 available slots, 5,000 of which go to local residents.