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What's the world's biggest food fight?


Tomatina Festival Rules and Regs
Spanish firemen take part in the fun at La Tomatina.
Spanish firemen take part in the fun at La Tomatina.
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

For the first 30 or so years of the food fight, it was strictly a B.Y.O.T. affair. Since 1975, the ammunition has been trucked in by "Los Clavarios de San Luis Bertran." Loosely translated, this means the cavalry, or army, of San Luis Bertran, the patron of the town of Bunol. Roughly 200,000 pounds (99,790 kilograms) of tomatoes are brought in for the festival to supply the 30,000 plus revelers with plenty of ammo [source: Leadbeater]. The police are pretty forgiving during the fight, as long as nothing violent happens and the crowd ceases the fight immediately upon hearing the second firecracker sound.

After that, the partying continues and the cleanup begins -- the tomatoes are simply hosed from the streets and into the sewer system. Locals and shop owners all chip in on the hosing duties, but the majority of the washing away comes in the form of fire truck hoses. So far the town has reported no nefarious activity or injuries, and those traveling to Bunol have been respectful of the tradition and its rules.

If you plan on going to Spain to take part in the La Tomatina tomato fight, you should heed the following tips:

  • Do not wear clothes that you care about.
  • Bring a change of clothing, especially if you're traveling by train from Bunol.
  • Bring along swimming or snow skiing goggles to avoid the sting of the tomato juice.
  • Only use an underwater camera.
  • Leave your video camera at home unless you have a watertight housing.
  • There are no spectators at La Tomatina. If you're there, prepare to leave red.