#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. 


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IN PICS: This is what happens when a town in Spain throws the world’s biggest food fight

Thousands of half-naked revellers pelted each other with tomatoes on Wednesday in the town of Buñol in eastern Spain, in the annual fiesta billed as the world’s biggest food fight.

IN PICS: This is what happens when a town in Spain throws the world's biggest food fight
Photos: AFP

A convoy of six trucks laden with almost 150 tonnes trundled through the towns narrow streets as teams onboard distributed an estimated 180,000 tomatoes to the crowds ahead of the epic squishy battle.

At 11am on the dot, the battle commences and lasts for one hour turning the streets into tomatoey mush and the walls daubed with seedy splats.

The iconic fiesta, billed at “the world's biggest food fight,” has become a major draw for foreigners, in particular from Britain, Japan, Australia and the United States Buñol city hall estimates that only one-fifth of the roughly 22,000 participants each year are from Spain.


Organizers recommend participants squish the tomatoes before throwing them – “the hit will be less painful” – wear old clothes and use goggles to protect their eyes from the fruit's acid.

Non-resident participants are charged €10 ($11.50) to take part and tickets are limited to 17,000 to restrict numbers and prevent the festival from getting out of hand. The town reserves 5,000 free tickets for residents.

Before ticket sales were introduced the food fight drew over 45,000 revellers to the town.

The Tomatina started in 1945 when locals brawling in the street at a folk festival seized tomatoes from a greengrocer's stall and let loose.

And after the tomatoey battle is over, the clean up begins.

READ MORE: La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about Spain's epic food fight fiesta