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Pillow Fight Day 2010 unites the world in feathers and old-fashioned fun

When you’re about to take on the world with a pillow, there is no perfect strategy. However, I did try to incorporate a few bob-and-weave moves to keep from getting whacked with hundreds of pillows in San Diego on April 3, otherwise known as International Pillow Fight Day.

My friends and I joined a massive pillow fight in front of Horton Plaza in San Diego, while people in São Paulo, Brazil; Seattle, Wash; Shanghai, China; Stockholm, Sweden; Sydney, Australia; Taipei, Taiwan; València, Spain and other cities around the world also participated in their own pillow fights.

Pillow fight participants had to follow several rules, including: not hitting people too hard, not hitting people with cameras or who are not participating and not putting hard objects in your pillows.

At first, I was concerned that the event was going to be a bust, but soon, people of all ages began trickling into the plaza. Pillows of all sizes were present before the fight, each being held by nervous-looking individuals who shifted their weight, waiting for the beginning of the fight. Some decided to dress for the occasion and wore their favorite pajamas, superhero costumes and masks, while others wore Viking hats and stretched for a better pillow swing range.

As the countdown for the fight began, a cheer arose in the Gaslamp District as everyone bunched together in the plaza, then the pillows began to fly.

It didn’t matter if you were a male of female; there was equal pillow smacks given to all. Shorter individuals probably received the brunt of the abuse, as they had to not only duck pillows, but elbows as well.

Some tried teaming up, piggybacking on friends’ backs, and swinging two pillows, but they were quickly taken down. I found that standing back-to-back with a friend, swinging two pillows was the best way to lessen the amounts of blows to the head, but did little to protect against side attacks. What worked best for me was the use of two pillows, with one over my head as a shield from attack with the other being swung in a cross motion from my other hand.

The closer I got to the middle of the mob, the less control I had of my own motions. I was swept into the middle of the fight, and could only hold one pillow up as a shield, swing aimlessly and laugh as I was thwacked from all sides. However, I wasn’t afraid, the entire crowd was filled with laughing, happy people in the same boat I was.

As the fight progressed into the evening, feathers began flying into the air, creating the same reaction that blood in the water creates near a swarm of sharks. Pillows were swung harder, battle cries got louder. However, the cries died down relatively quickly; feathers make great deterrents when they go up your nose or in your mouth and eyes.

Pillow fight veterans were prepared for the onslaught of feathers, and had helmets, bandanas, face masks and goggles to keep them safe from the feathers.

For over two hours, people laughed, hooted and cheered as they flung pillows back and forth, lobbing each other and turning the plaza into a pillowy, cotton-filled wonderland. Some stopped in the middle of their battle to create feather angels (a counterpart of the snow angel), or just to take pictures of the mayhem.

In summarizing the event, one pillow fight partaker said it best: “This is the most comfortable mosh pit I have ever been in.” Everyone who attended the event, although they were beaten by random strangers with a penchant for pillows, enjoyed every minute of the event. Those who heard about the event the next day stood, brimmed with envy, as they listened to the battle stories and looked at the pictures.

While next year’s battle is a long while off, many are already looking forward to the event, and plan on attending with bigger, better and fluffier weapons.

For more photos and video footage of International Pillow Fight Day from all over the world, go to

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