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Tomatina: Buñol's annual salad fight brings in visitors from all over the world
By thinkSPAIN Team Wed, Aug 28, 2019
ONCE again and for the 74th time, the streets of Buñol are gushing with ketchup – the world-famous Tomatina festival took place this morning and gives a new definition to the term 'painting the town red'.
Buñol, which lies about 20 kilometres west of Valencia, becomes the scene of an inter-continental battle on the last Wednesday in August, where locals and visitors from as far away as Japan, South Korea and Australia actually pay for the privilege of spending an hour being pelted with salad.
The planet's biggest tomato fight and one of Spain's largest August fiestas kicked off as usual at 10.50 when a firework was let off as the starting signal – before which nobody is allowed near the fruit – and then six lorries full to bursting with ripe tomatoes poured their loads into the main square.
This year, 145 tonnes of tomatoes were hurled among the 22,000 – of whom 9,000 were Buñol residents, a town with just over 10,000 inhabitants – most of whom were wearing their oldest T-shirts, since after the Tomatina, they will never be able to put them on again.
The majority wore goggles to protect their eyes from flying fruit, and many even wore helmets made from hollowed-out halves of watermelons.
At noon, a siren sounds to tell everyone to stop throwing, and the festival will continue for the rest of today and tonight with al fresco lunches and dinners, live music and other outdoor entertainment.
This year's poster for the Tomatina borrowed a slogan from cult historical drama series Game of Thrones – 'Winter is Coming' – an invitation for everyone to let their hair down as the summer draws to a close.
Buñol council says it is delighted with the number of people who joined in this year – although foreign tourists are always numerous, an additional 4,000 local people bought tickets.
A far greater number of Russians was reported, and plenty of Australians, but the town hall said it was a 'shame' that the number of Brits who visited had dropped – possibly because of the fall in the pound sterling as a result of the imminent Brexit deadline.
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