Photos: Spain’s La Tomatina festival returns after pandemic pause
Up to 20,000 people take part in the event inspired by a 1945 food fight between local children in the town of Buñol.
People from around the world have pasted each other with tomatoes as part of Spain’s famous La Tomatina event in the eastern town of Buñol, following a two-year suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
People on trucks unloaded 130 tonnes of overripe tomatoes along the main street of the town for participants crammed below to throw, leaving the area drenched in red pulp on Wednesday.
Up to 20,000 people paid 12 euros ($12) each to take part in the festival.
The town’s streets were hosed down and the revellers showered off within minutes after the hour-long noon battle.
The event, held on the last Wednesday of August each year, was inspired by a food fight between local children in 1945 in the town, located in a tomato-producing region.
Media attention in the 1980s turned it into a national and international event, drawing participants from around the world.
Local officials said they expected fewer foreign visitors this year mainly because of continuing fears over COVID-19 in Asian countries.
Participants wore swimming goggles to protect their eyes while their clothes, typically T-shirts and shorts, were left covered in pulp.
Besides being the first battle since before the pandemic started in 2020 in Spain, this year’s celebration had the added incentive of being the event’s 75th anniversary and 20 years since the festival was declared by Spain as an international tourism attraction.