The World’s Biggest Food Fight

When I was in eighth grade, I experienced my first food fight. It started at one lunch table, someone quickly yelled “FOOD FIGHT” then it erupted for a solid fifteen seconds before the middle school staff started yelling. Boys were being escorted out of the lunchroom proudly displaying their clothes covered in spaghetti and orange juice.

It didn’t last long, but our food fight was magnificent. And now that I’ve heard that the biggest food fight in the world takes place in Spain, my heart is set on going. It’s called the Tomatina Festival and it takes place in the small town of Buñol in the Spanish province of Valencia. It is a food fight for the masses and the only food thrown is tomatoes. The peaceful battle is held over the span of a week and Buñol expects to see anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 tomato throwers.

No one knows how exactly this festival started or why it has lasted so long. The first Tomatina Festival was in 1945; some say it was in protest to the government and others say it was just a friendly, fun fight. One thing is for certain: if you go out in the streets during the Tomatilla Festival, you are part of the fight, and don’t expect to wear those clothes again.

The Festival takes place annually in August. It starts out with the palo jabón, which consists of a greasy pole with a ham on top. Once the ham is retrieved, the festival begins. Truckloads of tomatoes are brought in. Cue the chaos! However, there fight is not without its rules. Tomatoes must be crushed before thrown so no one is injured. The use of goggles and gloves is also recommended to participants.

After the fight is over, the town is literally painted red. Rivers of tomato juice flow through the streets and fire trucks are brought in to do much of the clean up. Because of the acidity of the tomatoes, it’s said that the town is pristine and clean!

While tomatoes are the only food thrown, guests of the festival can also enjoy food after the fight is over for the day. There are paella cooking contests along with music performances, parades, and fireworks. What could possibly be better? If you’re still not convinced check out the links and pictures! This festival is jumping to the top of my list, my heart is definitely set on attending the worlds biggest food fight.

Perhaps the United Nations can sponsor an international food fight. Maybe the real life conflicts of the world would be solved! One can dream…

Check out these links to learn more:

Laura Stoddard

Iowa UNA

November 12, 2010


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