BUÑOL, Spain (NewsNation Now) — The world’s largest food fight is on hold for another year thanks to COVID-19.
Last year’s La Tomatina festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and organizers decided it would be too risky to hold one this year as well.
La Tomatina involves tens of thousands of people throwing one hundred metric tons of tomatoes at each other in the city of Buñol, Spain.
The festival starts, though, with a large greased pole with a ham on top hoisted into the air. Whoever gets the ham gets to keep it and then the tomato throwing begins. If no one grabs the ham, tomato throwing still begins at 11 a.m.
It lasts an hour before a cannon is fired to signal the end of throwing. Then participants rinse themselves off with garden hoses. Some local businesses even put up tarps to prevent their stores from being pelted too hard with tomatoes.
The annual event began in 1945, according to the official festival website. It was banned during the time Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco ruled, before returning bigger than before years later.
Organizers even added a children’s version of the traditional tomato throwing.
The town of Buñol has a population around 9,000 people according to the Spanish government and is a municipality of the larger province Valencia.
While the tomato throwing is on hold for another year, those hoping to have some virtual fun can participate in the Tomatina Experience VR.
Next year’s festival is scheduled for Aug. 31, 2022, and thousands of tomato throwers are expected to return to formally celebrate the 77 years of the event.