The last week of August is a week of festivals in Buñol. The weeklong festival consists of music, dance, contests, fireworks, parades, foods and drinks. On the eve of La Tomatina, Paella food festival takes place. La Tomatina festival is held annually in Spain. La Tomatina is a Spanish term for Tomato. This festival is very popular and people come from all around the world on this day. Every year La tomatina fight takes place on the last Wednesday of August month in Buñol, Valencia. Buñol is a small town of about 9000 inhabitants.
It is believed that this festival originated in 1945 when some youths had a fight and they used vegetables from food stand to do so. It soon became a tradition in Valencia to have a food fight on the last Wednesday of August. At the start this festival was banned by the government but later on due to great popularity and public demand it was made official. Some rules were put in place so as to avoid mishaps.
For the participants' safety, the following rules and instructions have been enforced by the local authorities.
The Festival begins at ten in the morning. The first event of the festival is to climb a greasy pole. The crowds start singing and dancing during this stage as the other pole participants try to climb the pole. Once the pole has been climbed and the top reached, the second and main part of the festival is announced opened. This normally happens at around 11am by a gun shot. Water jets are fired and the trucks and Lorries loaded with Tomatoes move in the plaza. The tomatoes are grown especially for this festival and are ordered from Extremadura. About 160000 fresh tomatoes weighing about 100 metric tons are used during this festival. The tomatoes are over-ripe and perfectly suit the needs of the festival
The festival ends within one hour from its start. The participants cleans themselves while the fire fighters vehicles spray clean the area. There is a new trend in this festival whereby the second phase of La Tomatina festival continues in the evening. This is called the La Tomatina after party.
Statistics show overwhelming popularity of the festival. In 2012, 50 000 people took part in la Tomatina festival. La Tomatina is fast becoming and international festival and more and more people are organizing it around the world.