'War of the Tomato' fought on Chile streets

    10:45 AM, Feb 18, 2013   |    comments
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    QUILLON, Chile (CBS) -- Thousands of people participated in the third annual "War of the Tomato" on Saturday in the Chilean city of Quillon.

    In a take on the famed tomato festival in Bunol, Spain, over 40 tonnes of tomatoes were used by the participants to lob at each other.

    "It helps one de-stress with family and friends. It's a very fun experience," said Paulina Escares, one of the combatants in the tomato fight.

    In total, about 7,000 people participated in the tomato fight.

    One participant, Johny Gonzalez, said that there was more than enough tomatoes for the fight.

    "I have plenty of tomatoes to throw. I brought a kilo, and that's aside from the 45 tonnes that there were. I brought a kilo to throw. There are enough tomatoes to throw," he said.

    Local tomato growers supplied the fruits of their labour for the event, for the purpose of raising their local crop's national profile.

    "They weren't for sale anyway. It's not that we are throwing them out or wasting food. These are tomatoes that were never going to be sold, that are donated by the producers for this event in Quillon every year," an unidentified participant explained.

    While similar events have been held in Colombia, Costa Rica and the United States, Quillon mayor Alberto Gyhra said that Quillon is the only location in the Americas that has had the event for three years running.

    "Outside the Iberian Peninsula, Quillon is the only town that has managed to have the tomato festival for three consecutive years. This year is much better than the last two, without a doubt," he said.

    The event was first created by local man Miguel Pedreros and some friends, but this year they handed over responsibility of the event's organization to municipal authorities.

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