Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tomato Festival in Spain 2012 2013

. Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tomato Festival in Spain 2011

La Tomatina 2011 Spain

La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near to Valencia in Spain. Thousands upon thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to fight in this 'World's Biggest Food Fight' where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets.
The week-long festival features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks. On the night before the tomato fight, participants of the festival compete in a paella cooking contest.
Anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 people come to this huge tomato fight, greatly expanding Bunol's normal 9,000 person population. There is limited accommodation for people who come to La Tomatina, so many people take the easier option of staying in nearby Valencia just 38km to Bunol by bus or train. In preparation for the dirty mess that will ensue, shopkeepers use huge plastic covers on their storefronts in order to protect them from the carnage.

What Happens at La Tomatina ....

At around 10 am, the first event of the Tomatina begins. Many trucks haul the bounty of tomatoes into the center of the town, Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive. Technically the festival does not begin until one brave soul has climbed to the top of a two-story high, greased-up wooden pole and reached the coveted ham at the top. In practice this process takes a long time and the festival starts despite no one reaching the meaty prize. The signal for the beginning of the fight is firing of water cannons, and the chaos begins. Once it begins, the battle is generally every man for himself.
Those who partake in this event are strongly encouraged to wear protective safety goggles and gloves. In addition, they must squish the tomatoes before throwing for safety precautions. Another rule is that no one is allowed to bring into this fight anything that may provoke someone into a more serious brawl, such as a glass bottle. Although it is forbidden to tear someone else's clothing, the crowd tends to ignore this and invariably will rip the shirt of any clothed person, man or woman.
After exactly one hour, the fighting ends when the water cannons are fired once more to signal the end. At this point, no more tomatoes can be thrown. The cleaning process involves the use of fire trucks to spray down the streets, with water provided from a Roman aqueduct. The authorities seem more concerned with cleaning the town than cleaning the visitors, so some people find water at the Bunol River to wash themselves, although some kind residents will hose passers-by down. Once the tomato pulp is flushed, the ground is clean due to the acidity of the tomato.

How Did La Tomatina Start .....

The festival is in honor of the town's patron saints, Luis Bertran and the Mare de Deu dels Desemparats (Mother of God of the Defenseless), a title of the Virgin Mary.
The tomato fight has been a strong tradition in Bunol since 1944 or 1945. No one is completely certain how this event originated. Possible theories on how the Tomatina began include a local food fight among friends, a juvenile class war, a volley of tomatoes from bystanders at a carnival parade, a practical joke on a bad musician, and the anarchic aftermath of an accidental lorry spillage.
One of the most popular theories is that disgruntled townspeople attacked city councilmen with tomatoes during a town celebration. Whatever happened to begin the tradition, it was enjoyed so much that it was repeated the next year, and the year after that, and so on. The holiday was banned during the Spanish State period under Francisco Franco for having no religious significance, but returned in the 1970s after his demise.

Where is Bunol .....

Bunol is a town and municipality in the province of Valencia, Spain and is situated approximately 38 km west of the provincial and autonomous community capital city, Valencia.

There are several ways to get to Valencia from London. If booked reasonably early availability to Valencia is good and flights are quite competitive. Easyjet fly from London Stansted, London Gatwick and Bristol. Ryanair fly from London Stansted, Liverpool, East Midlands and Dublin. Clickair fly from London Heathrow. Iberia fly from London Heathrow.

Where to stay .....

The majority of people travelling to La Tomatina stay in Valencia and make the trip to Bunol for the day of the tomato battle. You can either book a tour inclusive of hotel accommodation, transportation to Bunol and experienced tour guide with one of a number of tour operators like London based PP Travel or make use of the local train to Bunol and book a hotel in Valencia with discount prices.
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