Tomatoes flew on Sunday in the first village tomato fight in Tortugas, near Metepec, Hidalgo, an event promoted by the municipal government.
Some two tonnes of the red and green fruits served as missiles, allowing participants to release stress and enjoy themselves in what was known as the Jitomatiza, reminiscent of the famous Tomatina de Buñol festival in Spain.
The mounds of tomatoes, many of which were unfit for sale due to imperfections, were provided by local producers.
With white T-shirts, some of the participants circled the village accompanied by a brass band, like Roman gladiators preparing to entertain a crowd. The first few minutes passed calmly as the participants took to the field. However, before the buzzer a tomato sailed through the air meeting an unsuspecting victim. With that, the battle began.
Children, adults and seniors all participated, some only enduring a few minutes of the tomato-fueled mayhem. Others, brave enough to seek vengeance for the blows they’d received, remained inside the battle zone marked out by yellow tape.
After a few minutes, fatigue took hold making for a more static battle, but tomatoes were never fully grounded and anyone in the arena was in danger of a juicy impact. Thirty to 40 minutes into the onslaught, although tomato remained, energy levels waned, and the two sides ended the friendly fight.
Many of the participants promised that the tomato fight would be the first of many in Tortugas. The first edition had a festive atmosphere with decorative food and drink stalls, performing dancers and a brass band that played throughout, providing a soundtrack for the combat.
Before the event, one official assured that the Jitomatiza wouldn’t be a waste of tomatoes, guaranteeing that all of the remaining tomatoes and puree would be collected and used as compost.