BUNOL, Spain (CBS News) – Tens of thousands of people, many of them nearly naked, hurled truckloads of tomatoes at each other on Wednesday.
The melee was part of the annual “Tomatina” festival in the small Spanish town of Bunol.
Trucks arrived with 120 tons of ripe, juicy plum tomatoes to the delight of waiting revelers, many of them wearing diving masks, who were gathered in the town’s main street.
Within minutes the area was covered in red slime, and a smell of tomato sauce filled the air.
A rocket fired from a balcony signalled the fight’s end one hour later, after which giddy participants hosed each other clean.
The “Tomatina” is held annually on the last Wednesday in August and is said to be the world’s largest tomato fight.
Local lore says it began in the mid-1940s with a food battle that broke out between youngsters near a vegetable stand on the town square in Bunol, 190 miles southeast of Madrid.