Possibly the World’s Messiest Festival

The Spanish town of Buñol, located in the Valencia region will host its annual celebration of the tomato on August 31.

The festival takes place on the last Wednesday in August. Some 40,000 people come from round the world to take part in the festival. More than 100 tons of tomatoes are used in the battle. The festival lasts a week but the major day is the Tomato Fight day.

At 11 am a water rocket is shot off and trucks release tons of tomatoes onto the street. The hurling of tomatoes begins. Participants are instructed to crush the tomatoes in their hands before launching them through the air to reduce the impact of a successful hit. Everyone and everything is stained red as participants wade through a tide of tomato pulp.

An hour later, another water rocket is shot off signaling the end of the tomato throwing. The tomato mush is hosed off the streets, leaving the cobblestones bleached and disinfected thanks to the acids of the tomatoes. Participants also get a rinse.

The festival dates back to 1944 when a street fight broke out during one of the parades celebrating the town’s patron saints. During the street fight, tomatoes from a nearby vegetable stall were used as ammunition and the tradition began.