From Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls to Buñol’s Tomatina Food Fight Festival, Spain knows how to represent when it comes to bizarre sporting events. Slightly under the radar but just as epic as dodging bulls and tonnes of tomatoes is the Lanjarón Water Festival, where a “healing” water supply is put to good use for a serious after-hours throwdown.
For those unfamiliar with Lanjarón’s mojo, this place is home to some of the most famous natural springs in all of Spain, and the town has become a destination for those looking to cop some natural healing vibes from the water supply. Last weekend, we hit up Lanjarón to heal in a different way: by diving headfirst into the biggest water fight known to mankind during the town’s annual three-day water festival.
Rolling into Lanjarón’s outskirts on the festival’s final night, we first thought we’d missed the party (never a permissible thing). Sure, there were plenty of cars, but not so many people…that is, until we spotted a drenched family fly past us to the safety of their sedan. What were they running from? We’re guessing it was the lawless scene just a block away, where rooftop super-soaker snipers, alleyway shooters and bikini-clad girls bearing water bombs and buckets of water barraged all those brave enough to pass along the centre street. As we made our way through the mess, a bucket of water sailed down from overhead and completely drenched us, courtesy of a 70+ year-old woman cackling maniacally from her balcony perch. Our brazen attacker taught us a valuable lesson: During the Water Festival, everyone’s an After Hours Athlete, if only for a night (check out a video of the balcony action).
We finally made it to the town square just after midnight and were greeted with thumping music, fireworks and – we should have seen this coming – huge fire hoses hell-bent on spraying us all down one last time. This was when we learned our final lesson: There were no teams, winners or losers here, just a free-for-all after-hours mission to get as wet as possible. Say it with us: Water fight!
Photos courtesy of Flavia Giudice