In pictures: Spain’s Tomatina festival 2014

Spain's crazy Tomatina festival was its usual squishy self on Wednesday as nearly 22,000 people gathered in the Spanish town of Buñol to pelt each other with ripe tomatoes.

In pictures: Spain's Tomatina festival 2014
A man throws tomato pulp during the annual "tomatina" festivities in the village of Buñol, near Valencia on Wednesday. Photo: Gabriel Gallo/AFP

"It was pretty fun, squashing and throwing them. It was raining tomatoes," said Jessica Sims, a 27-year-old airline employee from the state of Utah, stepping back from the fray, her white T-shirt soaked and stained red.

"It was a bit scary and dangerous. If you go down to pick up a tomato, you might not come back up."

Click here to go straight to the best pictures of the 2014 Tomatina festival

One of Spain's quirkiest and best-known tourist draws, the Tomatina was stained this year by a row over its privatization.

But that didn't stop the tourists from Australia, Britain, Japan and the United States from joining an event dubbed the 'world's biggest food fight'.

"In Japan lots of people want to come to the Tomatina because it's a crazy festival," said Ayano Saito, a 25-year-old woman from Tokyo, visiting with eight friends.

During the event, locals try to protect shops and houses by covering them with great blue tarpaulins to avoid a splattering.

Giordano Mahr, 75, saw his favourite town centre bar boarded up on Wednesday to shield it from a sloshing with tomato juice, but he didn't mind.

"This is a unique fiesta. We really enjoy it. It brings a lot of benefits to the town," he said.

Click here to see the best pictures from this year's Tomatina festival

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#Tomatinachallenge: Join the world’s biggest food fight (from afar)

In normal times, the town of Buñol in the Valencia region of eastern Spain would be in a frenzy of preparation with hordes of people flocking to the in take part in what has become the world’s biggest food fight.

#Tomatinachallenge: Join the world’s biggest food fight (from afar)
Photo: AFP

But this isn’t a normal year and like fiestas all across Spain that have been cancelled in the Covid-19 pandemic, the annual Tomatina won’t be taking place in 2020. At least it won’t be taking place in its usual format.

What usually happens at 11am in the streets of Buñol on the last Wednesday in August is seriously messy.

Trucks loaded with some 180,000 tomatoes – an estimated 145 metric tonnes worth – roll into town to provide pulpy ammunition for the 20,000 plus partygoers crammed into Buñol for the event.

This year on what is the 75 anniversary of the first Tomatina, the town council of Buñol is asking fans from all across the globe to join in the celebrations.

The involves staging your own food fight using tomatoes, or a stunt involving total immersion in tomatoes or tomato juice and uploading the footage onto social media with the label #TomatinaChallenge.

Those who email a link to [email protected] will be entered into a prize draw to win tickets for next year’s Tomatina.

The town hall plans to use the footage to form part of a commemorative documentary so asks for videos to be filmed in landscape format.

Videos should be horizontal, or landscape, rather than vertical or portrait, since they need to be uniform – the council wants to put them all together to make a full-length, commemorative 75th anniversary 'documentary'.

“We Buñolenses love our fiesta, we love for our tradition, so this is a way for us all to join in the party this year,” insisted María Vallés, tourism councillor for Buñol.