There was a rather hectic moment at 4 pm when Jarramplas, after making his way through half the streets of the village, arrived at the church. I got swept up in the crowd & was shoved inside the main entrance. A moment later the doors were slammed shut & Jarramplas, just outside the door, was cornered & people mercilessly pounded him with turnips. The sound of the wooden church doors, as hundreds of turnips hit them, was deafening from inside the church. A few moments later the doors were opened & Jarramplas entered the church surrounded by villagers applauding him for withstanding the force of all those turnips. Then the people began singing. As traditional songs filled the church, people began carrying a wooden sculpture of San Sebastian through the aisles.
Shortly after the singing ended, the people rather excitedly filed out of the church & swarmed the square outside, again armed with more turnips (14,000 kilos of turnips were imported to Piornal for the festival, by the way). As everybody waited for Jarramplas to exit, so the madness could commence once again, a small tractor arrived with another load of turnips. The driver dumped a small mountain of them next to the fountain as people scrambled to arm themselves with the biggest turnips they could find. Jarramplas finally exited, banging on his drum, & the air was once again filled with flying turnips. People began running in all directions & I lost sight of Lola for a few minutes. (I found her crouched behind a phone booth which was covered in strips of plywood to keep the glass doors from being smashed by turnips).
We wandered off for a bit to get a break from the constant ducking & dodging & stress of wondering when, not if, we were going to get clobbered by a melon-sized turnip. As the sun began to disappear over the horizon, we took a stroll through the local Jarramplas museum (which is equipped with a bar downstairs that, at that moment, was full of drunken, singing villagers). Afterwards we got in the car, which survived the entire day without any turnip damage. Then we braved the dark, treacherous, winding mountain roads back down to the valley floor & then home.