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August 26, 2015

What better way to commemorate the near-end of tomato season than with a food fight among thousands of people? (There probably isn't one.) The 70th annual La Tomatina festival kicked off today in Buñol, Spain and it's just as messy as you'd expect. A little background: No one is quite sure how the tradition came to be—some credit it to a couple of local youngsters tossing tomatoes at each other during a parade to honor the village's patron saint San Luis Bertran—but it now attracts thousands of tourists to the area. In 2013, more than 50,000 people attended La Tomatina, a potentially dangerous number for such a small venue. A ticketing system—ranging from $12 to $75—has been utilized to help keep attendee numbers manageable. 

The best part of it all: Buñol is in no way known for its tomato growing—but they are known for their cement production. The tiny village has to import fruit for the event every year. So just how many tomatoes does it take for a town to throw a massive food fight? These photos from the 2015 event speak for themselves:

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AFP/Getty Images

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Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.

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