La Tomatina is Valencia’s traditional mass street fight festival that takes place on the last Wednesday of every August. This friendly fight invites residents and visitors to come to the small town of Buñol and participate in painting the town red in a huge and highly entertaining tomato fight. This is a real spectacle which has tens of thousands of participants, young and old. It’s wet, it’s messy but it’s a lot of crazy fun! La Tomantina festival begins with the Palo Jamón in other words ‘greasy pole’ in which the goal is to climb a greased pole with a ham on top. As the climber makes their way up, spectators sing and dance whilst getting hosed down. When the ham is finally knocked off the poll, the start signal for the mass tomato fight is given and tomato-filled trucks begin to unload already crushed tomatoes in the Plaza del Pueblo and the chaos begins.
Las Fallas de San José
Las Fallas de San José or simply Las Fallas is Valencia’s most international festival and is held in commemoration of Saint Joseph. Starting around the 19th March and lasting five days and five nights, Valencia celebrates the coming of spring with Las Fallas which features parades, fireworks, dances, food events and giant paper-mâché figures or puppets that are used to decorate the streets, squares and particular museums of Valencia. Las Fallas begins every day during the festival at 8:00am with La Desperta (“the wake-up call”) which sees brass bands marching down the streets playing lively music followed by the fallers, people dressed in regional and historical costumes from different eras of Valencia’s history, throwing firecrackers in the street. On the final night of the festival there is the burning of the puppets in public bonfires where only one is saved.
Festa de Julio
The Festa de Julio or July Festival is a week-long festival and is when Valencia celebrates the arrival of thousands of tourists featuring plenty of nightly entertainment, concerts and fabulous firework displays. During the month of July there are musical contests in the Palau de la Música and the extremely popular Battle of Flowers which consists in a parade whereby girls are driven around in decorated carriages around the Alameda throwing flowers and petals at the crowd.
Mostra del Cine del Mediterraneo
The Mostra del Cine del Mediterraneo is Valencia’s annual film festival held in October. The Valencia Film Festival celebrates the diversity of cultures in the Mediterranean and promotes Mediterranean cinema including its most popular and interesting films on an international level. The event is also an attempt to boost Valencia’s status as an ideal location for producers and directors to present their films and finally have them seen by international eyes and eventually cross national borders. The Valencian Film Festival also features many film-related activities to entertain visitors during the event.