Spain’s annual tomato throwing festival called ‘Tomatina’ has become a yearly attraction not only for the locals, but also for foreign tourists who flock to the eastern town of Bunol to celebrate it.
This year, the festival took place on Wednesday and extra police were deployed at the festival in the wake of the deadly twin vehicle attacks which took place in Catalonia.
According to Bunol city hall, a total of 740 security forces were on duty at tomatina including police officers, firefighters and ambulance workers. This number was an increase of around five percent over the same time last year.
“The security apparatus was reinforced and adapted following the attacks” in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils that killed 16 people, Juan Carlos Moragues, the central government’s representative in the region of Valencia, told reporters.
Fireworks set off the festivities at 11 am as revelers picked up the ripe tomatoes and started throwing them at each other. Many were seen just wearing bathing suits and goggles, just laying in the pulp and enjoying the festive atmosphere.
Some 160 tonnes of ripe tomatoes were offloaded from trucks into a crowd of 22,000 people, about two-thirds of them foreigners.
This year the festival celebrated its 72nd anniversary and each year it attracts more and more foreigners. The Tomatina is called ‘the world’s biggest food fight’ and it attracts most of its participants from Britain, Japan and the US.
The Tomatina started in 1945 when locals brawling in the street at a folk festival grabbed tomatoes from a greengrocer’s stall and let loose.