One Big Mess

Things get messy in Buñol, Spain, this time of year. In the normally gorgeous ancient city in the Valencia region of Spain …

photo by Jesús Pérez Pacheco via

the streets turn red …

photo by Rob Owens via

with tomatoes!

photo by flydime via Wikimedia Commons

I have an abundance of tomatoes this time of year (I even have a huge bowl by the back door and encourage my employees to take home as many as they like), but this takes over-abundance to another level …

On the last Wednesday of August each year in Buñol, a tomato-producing region, tens of metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets … and tomato madness ensues! 20,000-50,000 tourists now come to participate in a mass food fight called La Tomatina to re-create a simple brawl in 1945, when an angry reveler started throwing produce from nearby street vendors. In the early years, participants brought their own tomatoes and were sometimes arrested for disturbing the peace. But the ritual became so popular that in 1975, town officials started organizing the festival and brought in tons of tomatoes for the unusual celebration. The fight lasts for an hour, during which shopkeepers cover their storefronts in plastic to protect them from damage. At the end of the hour, fire trucks hose down the streets and hoses are provided to clean up participants. Good, clean fun that gets a little messy!

photo by flydime via Wikimedia Commons

photo by flydime via Wikimedia Commons