Revelers enjoy the atmosphere in tomato pulp while participating in the annual Tomatina festival on August 31, 2022, in Bunol, Spain. The world’s largest food fight festival, La Tomatina, consists of throwing overripe and low-quality tomatoes at each
People from around the world participated in a massive food fight on Wednesday, throwing overripe tomatoes at each other during Spain’s famous "La Tomatina." 
The festival is held in the village of Buñol, located just outside of Valencia. Workers in trucks unloaded 130 tons of overripe tomatoes on the main street for the participants to use as projectiles, leaving the area drenched in red pulp.
La Tomatina happens annually on the last Wednesday of August, according to tourist websites about the event. However, it was paused for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and finally made its triumphant return this year. 
Revelers enjoy the atmosphere in tomato pulp while participating in the annual Tomatina festival on August 31, 2022, in Bunol, Spain. The world’s largest food fight festival, La Tomatina, consists of throwing overripe and low-quality tomatoes at each other. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Some 20,000 people were expected to participate in the festival, in which entry cost 12 euros (also about $12 USD). 
The event was inspired by a food fight in 1945 between local children located in a tomato-producing region, according to the Associated Press. Media attention in the 1980s made it a national and international event, attracting participants from all corners of the world.
In addition to returning following COVID-19, this year's celebration was also the event's 75th anniversary and 20 years since Spain declared the festival an international tourist attraction, the AP reported. 
People covered in tomato pulp take part in the 75th “Tomatina” Festival in the eastern town of Bunol, Spain on August 31, 2022. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Participants are encouraged to wear safety or swimming goggles to protect their eyes during the battle, which lasts for about an hour, according to the tourist site LaTomatina.org.
"The signal for the beginning of the fight is firing of the cannon, and the chaos begins," LaTomatina.org says of the food fight. "Once it begins, the battle is generally every man for himself."
People covered in tomato pulp take part in the 75th “Tomatina” Festival in the eastern town of Bunol, Spain on August 31, 2022. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
After the midday battle, crews of workers hose down the city streets and the tomato-covered revelers.
Images and videos of the annual event have caused a stir in the past on social media, from people who say the event is massive food waste. 
In Nigeria, where tomatoes are a food staple, people were especially critical in 2016. A state of emergency was declared that year in the tomato-producing state of Kaduna, and farmers were said to have lost up to 80% of their tomato crop, according to Vice News and the BBC. After Spain’s 2016 La Tomatina event, the massive food fight was criticized by many Nigerians online and by local newspapers
But locals in the Valencia region have said the tomatoes used in La Tomatina are no longer good for eating. 
Rafa Pérez Gil, who served as the mayor of Buñol, told the BBC in 2016 that most of the tomatoes used in the August food fight are past their sell-by-date and on the verge of rotting. However, Pérez Gil conceded that food waste was an issue that needed a wider discussion. 
"If you look at the garbage bins in Spain, there is more waste thrown away every day than tomatoes used at La Tomatina," the mayor told the news outlet.
RELATED: Spain's Running of the Bulls fills streets after 2-year COVID hiatus 
This story was reported from Cincinnati.
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