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Pictures from La Tomatina 2015

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The biggest food fight in the world takes place every year in Buñol, Spain, not far from Valencia. La Tomatina sees thousands of people gather to toss a hundred metric tons of tomatoes at each other.

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In recent years, tickets have been issued to limit tomato fight participants to 20,000 people. Yet spectators swell that number considerably. The festival is actually a week long, with parades, cooking contests, dancing, and fireworks.

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The 2015 tomato fight was yesterday. One of the highlights was when Google’s Street View car drove into the mess, and was pelted with a good share of tomatoes. Street View had planned to collect “before and after” pictures, but a timing mistake meant that Google only got photos “during.”   

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Yesterday’s event marked the 70th anniversary of La Tomatina, which was an occasion for a congratulatory Google Doodle. If they had only known what would happen, they could have included the Street View car in the art.

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Strangely, Buñol doesn’t even grow tomatoes. The town relies on the province of Extremadura for its tomatoes, both for eating and for the festival. By late in August, the tomato producers of Extremadura have plenty of overripe or other-than-top-grade tomatoes for the festival.  

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The traditional signal for the tomato fight to begin is complex. A ham is suspended from a greased pole in the town square. Participants struggle to retrieve the ham. When someone finally does, a cannon fires, initiating the free-for-all.

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It takes an hour or two for all the tomatoes to be thrown, and then the cannon fires again, which is a signal for the fight to stop.

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By then, the streets are ankle-deep in tomato pulp! Firefighters are on hand to hose down the participants, although some prefer to jump into the nearby Buñol River.  

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A good time was had by all. Make your plans now for La Tomatina 2016, which will be held on August 31st.

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Animals
Miami to Host Inaugural Canine Film Festival
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There’s an annual festival dedicated to internet cat videos, so it only makes sense that dog-lovers would create their own film event. As the Miami New-Times reports, the Magic City will host the inaugural Canine Film Festival on July 15 and 16. The fundraising event encourages movie lovers to enjoy submitted flicks with their furry friends.

The festival will take place at the Cinépolis Coconut Grove and Hotel Indigo in Miami Lakes. Festivities kick off on the first day with “A Day at the Movies With Your Dog,” featuring film screenings attended by dogs and humans alike. Other events scheduled throughout the weekend include a dog fashion show, dog yoga, silent auctions, a canine costume contest, an after-party at Miami Lakes' Hotel Indigo, and an awards ceremony.

Admission costs $10 to $1000, and 50 percent of ticket proceeds will benefit local animal rescues and shelters. For more information, visit the Canine Film Festival's website.

[h/t Miami New Times]

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Nicolas Raymond // CC BY 2.0
D.C.’s Cherry Blossoms Will Arrive Extra Early This Year
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Nicolas Raymond // CC BY 2.0

Spring is busting out in Washington, D.C. The city’s beloved cherry trees have already begun to bloom, forcing organizers of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival to start the event one week earlier than planned, ABC News reports.

The National Park Service is currently estimating that peak bloom—that is, the short period when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry blossoms will be open—will begin around March 14. Last year, peak bloom began on March 25. In the years before that, the blossoms peaked in early April. The Cherry Blossom Festival will begin March 15, rather than March 20, and continue through April 16.

“Cherry tree dates vary from year to year, but the long-term trend shows earlier and earlier blooming,” climate change scientist Patrick Gonzalez said in a video for the National Park Service. Blooms can be forced by unseasonably warm winters, although as the last three years have been the hottest ever recorded, we may soon need to adjust our definition of “unseasonably warm.”

The National Park Service notes that the exact dates of prime pink-petal viewing are “almost impossible” to predict more than 10 days in advance.

The hundreds of cherry trees planted throughout the nation's capital and the Tidal Basin were a gift from Japan to the United States in 1912 and have since become one of D.C.’s most famous tourist attractions. Yet as big as the blossoms are here, they’re even bigger in Japan, where their fragility, loveliness, and oh-so-brief appearance represent the beauty and impermanence of life.

[h/t: ABC News]

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