People in Bunol gear up for their traditional tomato fight

The quiet town of Bunol gets ready to kick off their annual tomatina party

BUNOL, SPAIN (AUGUST 25, 2015) (REUTERS) – In the small eastern Spanish town of Bunol just a few miles east of Valencia the atmosphere was suspiciously calm but in the very heart of the town everything was gearing up on Tuesday (August 25) for their World famous annual tomato fight.

Walking through Bunol’s narrow streets on Tuesday many residents could be seen protecting their homes with tarpaulins.

People that live in Bunol know that this measure is the best way to keep their homes as clean as possible during the one hour tomato fight due to take place on Wednesday (August 26).

The enormous food fight began accidentally in 1945, when a group of young men were excluded from summer celebrations and protested by throwing tomatoes from a street stall.

The protest continued illegally every year until the town council accepted it as a festival in itself in 1957, and it became famous internationally after the 1990s.

Manuel Sierra was raised in Bunol and he has taken part of the tomatina ever since he can remember.

“You can see a multi-racial environment. There is very little space and people can hardly walk from here to the central square and there is a lot of happiness,” he said.

There is just one rule during the party, you have to squeeze the tomato before throwing it to your fiesta peers.

Late on Tuesday evening seven trucks loaded with more than 150 tons of tomatoes arrived to the outskirts of Bunol.

With the veggie ammunition ready for action, future participants of the tomatina are taking leisurely strolls through the town centre.

British tourist Leslie Wayfield said he was in Bunol just for fun and see a very famous Spanish tradition.

“It is crazy it is great, that is all I want to see, people out laughing and joking, no football crowds no nothing, just people having a good time, children and everything,” he said.

German tourist Anja Labusch was told by her friends the tomatina was something you cannot miss in life.

“We don’t hear much just pictures and on the television and people say you must go there it is crazy,” she said.

Although the party is free for locals visitors have to pay a 10 euros entrance fee.

In order to avoid recent agglomerations the town hall has stablised the event with a limit of 20.000 tickets for visitors. The August festival used to attract up to 50,000 revellers.

In Bunol centre square and the streets surrounding it signs indicate where the trucks will unload the tomatoes and shops are protected with different materials that often show the sign of past tomatinas.