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Revellers at Tomatina / Flydime
Revellers at Tomatina / Flydime
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The Messiest Food Fight Festivals In The World

Picture of Andrew Webb
Food & Drink Editor
Updated: 30 November 2016
Take aim and get messy with tomatoes, wine, oranges, flour, eggs and custard pies at the world’s best food fight festivals.

La Tomatina, Bunol, Valencia

Probably the most famous, but not the only, tomato food fight festival in the world. Each August around 20,000 people descend on the town of Bunol near Valencia to pelt each other in the streets. Over a hundred tons of over-ripe, squishy tomatoes are used, but be warned, you’re strongly advised to wear protective clothing and goggles. Prior to 2013 anyone could join in, but when numbers reached over 50,000, organisers decided to limited participants to 20,000 ticketed places.

The Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea, Italy

The small town of Ivera, Italy, hosts this annual festival said to commemorate the towns insurrection against a brutal local tyrant who tried to kidnap a local girl (often said to be a local miller’s daughter) on the eve of her wedding night. Things didn’t exactly go to plan as she decapitated him, and the villages stormed the castle. Unusually, oranges don’t grow in this northern region of Italy, and have to be imported from Sicily.

‘Clean Monday’ Flour Flight, Galaxidi, Greece

Galaxidi, a coastal town some 200 km from Athens, was once a thriving maritime port in the 18th century. Today the days of sail ships have long gone and the place is now a quiet coastal town. Once a year, however, locals celebrate the start of Lent in the Orthodox calendar by using up flour in preparation for 40 days of fasting. Instead of making a few pancakes though, they prefer a huge flour-throwing fight.

Αλευροπόλεμος στο Γαλαξίδι by LAMIASTARGR

Batalla Del Vino, Haro, Spain

The wine region of Rioja in Northern Spain is famous for its wine production, so much so that they’ve easily a spare 50,000 litres or so to throw around. The origins of the festival were originally to celebrate Saint Peter’s Day, which takes place on 29 June. Festivities get going the night before, where the whole town stays up and parties until the small hours. In the morning the Mayor leads the people to a nearby hillside where a short mass takes place, then it’s out with the buckets, bottles and water pistols filled with red wine and the soaking starts. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also wine drinking competitions.

Batalla Del Vino / Wine Fight (image by BigSus)
Batalla Del Vino / Wine Fight (image by BigSus) | Batalla Del Vino / Wine Fight (image BigSus)

Els Enfarinats, Ibi, Spain

Taking place in late December this festival features a mock coup d’etat, in which an army seizes power in the town. After a morning of mock battles, show trials, and fines, civil war descends and a huge food fight involving flour and eggs takes place in the town square. The festival’s origins date back over 200 years.

Els Enfarinats
Els Enfarinats / Fotógrafo Ibi | Els Enfarinats / Fotógrafo Ibi

World Custard Pie Championships, Kent, UK

Originally dreamed up as a way to raise funds to pay for a new village hall, this annual festival is now in its 50th year. Teams come from as far a field as Japan (who won it in 2015). Points are awarded for hits on different areas, a pie in the face gets the maximum six points, while three misses in a row sees points deducted. Being a English festival, eccentricity is a must, so think fancy dress and a punning name such as Custody Battle and Clash of The Pietans.

World Custard Pie Championships
World Custard Pie Championships / DavidAnstiss | World Custard Pie Championships (image DavidAnstiss)

La Raima, Pobla Del Duc, Spain

Finally, once more to Spain (they do really love a food fight) and the town of Pobla Del Duc. Here they host ‘La Raima,’ a grape throwing festival in late August. Its history goes back to the 1930s, when local farmers would celebrate the end of the harvest by throwing bunches of grapes at each other.