Food Fight: Thousands duel at The Great Tomato Battle

Thousands of people headed to San Diego Saturday for one messy festival.

Participants were all seeing red and were ready for a war…of sorts.

Reporter Richard Allyn takes us to the San Diego Tomato Battle.

It’s a recipe for insanity. Take 46,000 pounds of tomatoes, add nearly 3,000 amped up and some boozed up folks itching for a fight.

And this is what you get: The Great Tomato Battle of 2012, San Diego style.

“It’s a war zone.  You’ve gotta be ready for battle,” said one contestant.”Right when you walk in there’s a lot of pushing a shoving.”

And in this pit, no one or nothing is safe. Not even the news camera.

So why would anyone choose to do this?

“It’s a chance to blow off some steam.  Maybe hit some people in the face,” said one contestant.

Some of these tomato warriors had other compelling reasons. “Got a little bit of Italian blood in me so I wanted to make some pasta sauce out.”

In fact, this sort of tomato fight is a tradition in Spain. “Spain’s really far away, so why not bring this to the states,” Clint Nelsen, Co-Founder, The Tomato Battle, said.

Clint Nelsen is one of the co-founders of the tomato battle. He decided to add music and booze to Americanize the event.

“It’s beer, bands, and a giant tomato fight,” Nelsen said. “It’s more fun than you’re supposed to be able to have so it’s like breaking all the rules.”

And the battle will be waged once again next year. And most of these tomato-stained combatants say they’d do it again.

“Yes will goggles and possibly shields.”

“Hopefully, next time with more tomatoes.  I’d like to have a little more ammunition for an all-out war.  Cause everyone’s going down.”

In case you’re wondering, organizers say the giant tomato fight isn’t a waste of food.

All of the tomatoes used during the event are no longer ripe and have been marked for disposal.