Picture Credit: Getty Images
Picture Credit: Getty Images

Thousands Pelt Each Other In Spain's Messy "Tomatina" Fight

Team Republic |

More than 20,000 people have been drenched in red pulp after hurling tons of ripe tomatoes at each other in the annual "Tomatina" street battle in eastern Spain. Extra security measures were taken at the fiesta in Bunol this year following the vehicle attacks in and near Barcelona this month, with some 700 agents deployed.

The party saw 160 tons of tomatoes offloaded from trucks into crowds jamming the town's streets for the hour-long battle Wednesday.

Participants, including many tourists, donned swimming goggles to protect their eyes. Organizers hosed the streets down within minutes of the event's end at noon, while participants used public showers.

At around 11 a.m., the first event of the Tomatina begins. A ham is placed upon a cockaigne pole (a large, greased pole), and the tomato fight can begin only when someone is able to climb to the top and bring it down. People struggle against each other, climbing atop one another, in order to be the one to pull down the ham. With this victory, the tomato-throwing begins.

The week long festival features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks. 

The event, which costs $12 to attend, was originally inspired by a food fight between local children in 1945 in the tomato-producing region. 

(With inputs from AP)