August 28th, 2013
10:45 PM ET
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On the last Wednesday of every August, the population of Buñol, Spain swells from its usual population of 9,000 people to 40,000-50,000 tourists who descend upon the small town with one goal in mind: pelting their fellow man with as many tomatoes as humanly possible.

39-year-old iReporter Jose Miguel Fernandez de Velasco captured the messy action at La Tomatina Festival on Wednesday, first from a town hall window, then down on street level.

The festival (sometimes called the "world's largest food fight") has taken place on and off since the mid-1940s, and attracts participants from all around the globe. At approximately 11 a.m., after at least one hearty soul attempts to scale a soaped pole to nab a ham from top, a water cannon erupts, signaling the beginning of the fight. Men and women dive into a massive pile of tomatoes (130,000 tons of which were trucked in from Extremadura this year) and spend an hour pelting one another with the fruit until another water cannon signals the end of the battle.

In theory, there are guideline to ensure safety and sanitation: don't bring hard objects which may harm others, squish the tomatoes before throwing to lessen their impact, wear goggles to protect your eyesight, and don't rip anyone else's clothing. The two latter are generally ignored - but it's all in good fun.

After the last tomato has been thrown, fire trucks wash down the street with water from a Roman aqueduct. Participants, however, must rely on kindly locals with hoses or a dip in the Buñol River to rinse off the saucy residue.

See more of the story at CNN iReport

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Filed under: Events • iReport

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Maria Manzo

    There is definately a great deal to learn about this issue. I like all the points you made.

    June 22, 2014 at 12:08 am |
  2. personal training Long Island

    Buñol, Spain knows how ton have fun. La Tomatina Festival is on my things to do list before i die.

    January 14, 2014 at 9:29 pm |
  3. marcelo

    how imbecility, we can not take land from food to produce biofuel, but many waste food this way, corn and rice to produce beer, whiskey and vodka, and land to produce tequila, rum and cachaca, tobacco for cigarette, cigar and hookah .
    no wonder the world is so bad.

    August 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  4. Allah

    The most stupid people are doing the most stupid thing. These people can't even understand what they are doing. Moreover, this is an insult to humans and animals who are struggling to get their daily bread and butter.

    August 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
  5. Shige

    While someone dying from starvation another enjoying the waste of food. I don't want live in this planet ...

    August 29, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  6. Chris

    Meanwhile, in Africa, Asia, or even Europe or North America, another child dies of starvation. Keep on rockin' in the free world.

    August 29, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  7. JohnnyBoy

    ...and people wonder why Spain is broke. Pathetic

    August 29, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
  8. Jonas Ortiz

    Vivia España!!! This one of my dream to be part of the tomatina... and for people who doesnt like it... well Us have most wast of other kind of thing not just Tomatos!

    August 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Really...?

      August 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  9. EL CHE

    While humans from other undeveloped countries are suffering from hunger and water this festival are enjoying the waste of food and water, see how much water they need to use to clean up the streets!

    August 29, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • LAL

      Totally agree.

      August 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  10. rasPutin

    The US puts more food in its gas tanks in a day (ethanol from corn) than La Tomatina wastes in a hundred years.

    August 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • JohnnyNoname

      Yes, I put gas in my tank. To go to my job to feed my family... not to throw it for entertainment.

      August 29, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Terry

      Disgraceful waste.

      August 30, 2013 at 3:16 am |
  11. LarryBJ

    This is a local custom in a small town in Spain. If they didn't have this traditions, the tomatoes wouldn't be going to the hungry elsewhere...and anyone who has anything to say about it, all I can say is how much food do you throw away or waste every day/week without even as much as the blink of an eye? If you really care about the hungry, you need to be the change you want to see in the world. :) God bless you all and your plentiful tables.

    August 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • JohnnyNoname

      Speak for yourself. So everybody must be wasting food willfully just because you are wasting it?

      August 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  12. BoyHowdie

    Hard to make the argument about wasting food for this while people are hungry when we have hot dog eating contests on July 4th along with other speed eating contests in the USA.

    August 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      In our defense, we are also the world's largest supplier of foreign food aide.

      August 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  13. ziggy

    130,000 tons of tomatoes being used for people's amusement while many in this world are starving

    I understand the need to promote culture and fun but this is wasteful

    August 29, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  14. Jay

    More than half the countries in the world are struggling for food and here are people wasting food.....They need to put up pictures of people starving for food in the place where they have this so called food fight.

    August 29, 2013 at 11:27 am |
  15. sumguy

    Whenever I see something like this I wonder what an alien from another planet would think if they tuned in to see people starving in on part of the world and people throwing food at each other in another.

    August 29, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  16. lolita from rhode island

    que gente tan estupida

    August 29, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  17. palintwit

    Looks like the tea party patriots have been drinking too much Everclear out of mason jars again.

    August 29, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      twit is on a roll again!

      August 29, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  18. Truth™

    Sounds like a serious waste of food if you ask me.

    August 29, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Was thinking the same thing. They have a few neighbors a few hundred miles south that would appreciate all of that in an entirely different way. Not that we should restrict ourselves from fun due to others' plight, but a little thought of how that much food could be a world of difference to someone is in order.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Ann

      Yeah, I've never found anything particularly funny about a food fight. Disgusting and wasteful.

      August 29, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
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