SUNDAY COFFEE WITH JEB



Seniors, It’s A Big Food Fight

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Yes, a big big fight.  Senior travelers, it’s a food fight, the largest food fight in the world. I would rather read about it than participate in it…you can choose for yourself.

Buñol, Spain is world famous for the fight that takes place there annually. It’s called La Tomatina. La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in Buñol just west of Valencia.

Thousands upon thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to join in the fight  where tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. It’s estimated that around 120,000 pounds of tomatoes (it’s a fruit, not a vegetable) are tossed at this annual fiesta, which began in 1945.

It’s one wild scene. Be assured that there is a whole lot of sangria and Spanish wine consumed the evening prior to the big day. This 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.

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Prior to 2013 anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 (reported to be 50,000 in 2012) people crammed into this huge tomato fight, greatly expanding Buñol’s normal 9,000 population. Since the 2013 event official ticketing was put into place limiting the number of participants to just 20,000 lucky people.

Seniors Learn How It All Got Started

There is an interesting history behind how it all got startedSo seniors, if you would like to toss a few yourself, a word of advice. There is limited accommodation for people who come to La Tomatina, and a limited number of tickets. So, many people take the easier option of staying in nearby Valencia, 38km to Buñol by bus or train and get your ticket early.

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In preparation for the dirty mess that will ensue, shopkeepers along the route use huge plastic covers and plywood on their storefronts to protect the facade their businesses from the juicy carnage.

What actually happens? Well, at around 11 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.

One Hour Of Tomato Carnage!

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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. 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.

It’s all their fault. These two guys that started it back in their youth and now it’s an annual tomato brawl. Join in if you dare. jeb

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