Report: Spain’s ‘running of the bulls’ is coming to Pennsylvania

bull run
A shot of Pamplona’s bull run in 2004.
Credit: Wikipedia / Bernard Bill5

Organizers are bringing The Great Bull Run to America, and Pennsylvania is one 10 states race officials have chosen to stage the event, according to a report from USA Today.

The inaugural American run –  inspired by the weeklong San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain – is set for Aug. 24 in Richmond, Va., with additional events planned for Georgia, Texas, Florida, northern and southern California, Minnesota, Illinois and, of course, the Keystone State.

Each bull run will consist of a daylong event featuring music, food and entertainment, as well as a second Spanish tradition – the Tomato Royale.

Based on the La Tomatina festival in Bunol, the Tomato Royale is, as its name suggests, basically a massive food fight that devolves into pizza sauce.

Officials said about 5,000 people have already signed up to participate in Virginia’s upcoming bull run, a figure that grows by about 50 people each day.

Pennsylvanians will have to wait a little longer for their chance to run with the bulls – the run isn’t slated to be held here until next summer, June 7, 2014, at the Maple Grove Raceway in Berks County, according to the event website.

Tickets for the Pennsylvania event cost $35 until Jan. 3 and increase incrementally up to $65 between May 23 and May 30, 2014.

Admission includes participation in one of two quarter-mile bull runs and the Tomato Royale, access to the entire daylong festival and all spectator areas, one Great Bull Run t-shirt, one bandanna and one beer, if the participant is 21 or over.

Though bulls at the San Fermin festival injure dozens each year and have killed 15 people since record keeping began in 1924, Great Bull Run organizers said they’ve put into place safety features specific to U.S. events.

Bulls will be released in waves of six at a time to minimize injury, and the race path will feature fencing and dedicated nooks for weary participants to duck out of the path of oncoming bulls.

A warning posted on the event website states, “We do what we can to minimize those risks by using less aggressive bulls than those used in Spain … but make no mistake: You could get seriously injured in this event.

“That’s why there’s a mandatory insurance fee during the registration process and medical staff on site.”


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