Trips for Two: 7 of the World’s Biggest Food Fights

Splattered tomatoes! Stomped grapes! Tossed fruitcakes! For a vacation that's anything but boring, play with your food at one of these epic festivals.
By Jeff Wilser for

AP / The Nest

La Tomatina

Where: Buñol, Spain
When: Last Wednesday of August
It's the Super Bowl, World Cup and Mardi Gras of food fights: every year, 30,000 people gather in a sleepy town near Valencia, Spain, to pelt each other with 120 tons of squashed tomatoes. For an entire week the town transforms into the sloppiest party on the planet. (Tip: Wear safety goggles.) Expect live music, greasy poles, half-naked revelry and the steepest dry cleaning bill of your life.

Battle of the Oranges (aka "Battaglia delle Arance")
Where: Ivrea, Italy
When: The Week of Fat Tuesday
This festival has been going on for years-900, to be exact. In the 12th century, a cruel dictator was ousted and the townspeople of Ivrea celebrated his downfall by throwing beans. (Because why not, right?) In the 19th century they switched to oranges, and nowadays over 57,000 crates of oranges are used in the fracas. (Careful: over 150 people orange-hurlers were bruised or injured last year, so organizers recommend that spectators take it all in behind safety nets.)

La Merengada (aka Meringue War)
Where: Vilanova i La Geltrú, Catalonia
When: Fat Thursday
Have a sweet tooth? Then this is your festival. On Fat Thursday, after dinner, you are expected to emerge into the streets and pelt everyone you can see with meringue desserts, cream, sugar, candy and then more candy. It's like a bizzaro version of Trick-or-Treating: a Willy Wonka movie sprung to life.

World Custard Pie Championship
Where: Coxheath, Kent (United Kingdom)
When: May
If you think that a "custard pie toss" sounds like a Charlie Chaplin movie, well, you're exactly right; this event was founded in 1967 as an homage to Chaplin, and each year, organized teams of five pie-throwers pelt each other before a panel of judges, who award points for accuracy, originality and style. Now, at last, you can finally throw that pie at your partner...

World's Largest Grape Stomping Festival
Where: Sonoma County Harvest Fair
When: October
Not a food fight, per se, but you'll still get really messy at this fest. De-stress by crushing grapes with your bare feet; while you stomp, your partner (known as the "swabbie") has the unenviable task of bottling the juice. Pro tip: the stomp is best enjoyed after at least two glasses of wine.

World's Biggest Water Fight
Where: Songkran, Thailand
When: April
It started innocently enough. Many moons ago, as part of the Thai New Year celebration, the locals collected water that was poured over statues of Buddha, and then they used this water to symbolically cleanse themselves. That was then, this is now: The tradition evolved into an epic liquid battle that employs water guns, canons and bazookas, as nearly everyone in the city-whether walking on the streets, sitting on a bus, or riding on a motorcycle-sprays each other with water.

Great Fruitcake Toss
Where: Manitou Springs, CO, USA
When: January
Finally someone discovered the first useful purpose for fruit cake. The goal is simple: chuck the fruit cake as far as humanly possible. Choose between two honest-to-god "weight classes" (2 pound cakes, 4 pound cakes), and you can find locals who offer lessons on the proper technique. You can even use a slingshot or catapult to get rid of Aunt Edna's lousy cake.

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