Get your tomato at the ready!
Every year, one of the craziest and most extravagant summer festivals is held, none other than the Tomatina in Bunyol, a town located a few kilometres from Valencia. It comprises the largest tomato fight in the world and more than 200 tonnes of tomatoes are thrown during the event by festival participants. The Tomatina is always celebrated on the last Wednesday of August, which in 2011 will be the 31st of the month, and in 2012 the 29th of August.
This is one of the most anxiously awaited events in Valencia and dates back to 1945. Whilst a parade, featuring giant figures and papier-maché dolls, was making its way through the town, a group of young people started throwing tomatoes at each other taken from a fruit and vegetable stall, and causing such a kerfuffle that the police had to intervene. On the last Wednesday of August the following year, some young locals gathered in the town square armed with several kilos of tomatoes.
The authorities were originally opposed to the festival, and it was even banned at the beginning of the 50s, however following continuous requests by the locals, in 1959 the Tomatina was finally allowed to be celebrated. From then on, the Town Hall has been in charge of organising the event.
Although there is always a huge party the night before, the festival kicks off at 9 in the morning with everyone gathering for breakfast in Plaza Mayor. After breakfast, everyone has to keep their eyes peeled for the Palo Jabón, comprising a tall wooden pole, smeared with soap and sporting a jam right on the top. The first brave festival-goer to make it to the top gets to keep this unique trophy.
Then at 11am, a rocket is launched and amongst the screams of delight by the crowd, all red hell breaks loose! The tomato fight lasts an hour, and everyone ends up swimming in tomato flesh and juice! A great way of de-stressing and very fun throwing tomatoes at your friends!
Remember that you have to squash the tomatoes before you throw them so that nobody get’s hurt, and also take care with the trucks that come with all the tomatoes. In addition, they advise that you wear closed shoes, old clothes and goggles. The acid in the tomatoes can sting your eyes and we assure you that you will end up completely covered in tomatoes.
The fight ends when the second rocket is launched. This is when the fireman trucks clean the tomato laden streets where you will see rivers of tomato juice running down the street.
As well as the Tomatina, there are also parades, concerts, competitions and many other activities during the festivities in Bunyol. If you would like to take part in this unique festival, then hurry and book your apartment as during these festival days, Bunyol, Valencia and the surrounding towns are full of visitors.
How to get to Bunyol from Valencia:
To get to Bunyol, you need to take the C-3 line from the Valencia-Sant Isidrio train station. The journey takes around 40 minutes.
If you prefer to get there by bus, you can take the service going from Valencia to Yatova, although there will be a special bus service running on the day of the Tomatina, going directly to Bunyol.
If you’re making your way there by car, you have to get onto o the A-3 in the direction of Madrid and then follow the signs to Bunyol.
Laura - Marketing Team