Monday, April 21, 2014

World's Largest Food Fight?

One of three wings of King Hall

Midshipmen at the Naval Academy eat in King Hall. It's the most impressive dining facility I've ever seen in terms of logistical operations. The Brigade of Midshipman, 4,500 strong, march into this mess hall at the same time. Within a few minutes of sitting down every table of twelve is served a hot meal. I know of no other place where thousands are seated and served so quickly. It's quite a sight to behold.

Spontaneous food fights broke out two of the four years I attended the Academy. Always on Halloween.

The first year it happened I was a plebe on duty, so I missed it. The second time it erupted I was right in the middle of it where the three wings joined. It started at the far end of King Hall and I saw a wall of food traveling in my direction. It only took a second to reach me. Midshipmen – especially the plebes, since this was their chance to rebel – picked up food and threw it.

Within 30 seconds the melee was over. There was no food left to throw. It was all on the wall, floor, or us. I was fortunate enough to take cover in a defensive position between the end of my table and the wall. This act spared my uniform from battle damage and undeserved "fruit salad." My shoes, on the other hand, were a mess by the time I made it out of King Hall since I was stepping and slipping on sauces, gravy, salad and veggies.

How, why, or who started it remains a mystery.

Biggest Battle?

A King Hall table of 12 represents a squad.
So, was I involved in the world's largest food fight? That official title goes to the town of Buñol, Spain. Their annual food fight began in the mid-1940s and it's grown to about 20,000 people who show up to throw tomatoes at one another.

I chose to ignore the Spanish event as a food fight. It doesn't compare. For starters, it should be called a tomato fight since that's the only weapon used to engage the enemy. Second, the festival in Spain is planned – I'm talking about the difference between a boxing match and barroom brawl.

I wish I had video or photos of my epic battle with nameless heroes. And, for the record, I never threw a single piece of food. I always thought it was a tremendous waste.

If you happen to know of a bigger, unplanned, food fight involving more than 4,500 people then please let me know at

Author: Joe Moreno

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