Peters Hollow Egg fight celebrates an "egg-cellent" 195 years

Hannah Swayze • Apr 1, 2018 at 9:08 PM

ELIZABETHTON — While most families and communities were hiding plastic eggs filled with candy in their yards, in Peters Hollow, the Easter tradition looks a little different.

The Peters Hollow Egg Fight is a unique Easter event in Elizabethton’s Stoney Creek community. Instead of hiding eggs for the children to hunt for, Peters Hollow residents and their families and friends gather in a circle of chairs to "fight" with their hard-boiled eggs.

According to Norman Peters, the host of the celebration, the contest started 195 years ago in 1823 when Peters Hollow and Rome Hollow farmers got together.

"They challenged each other to see whose chicken laid the hardest eggs. All the farmers are gone now so it's just descendants and friends that get together and have an egg fight on Easter Sunday," Peters said.

The group of over 60 people, which was a smaller crowd than usual, gathered in Peters' back yard Sunday afternoon. All ages participate and many in attendance have been competing since they were 1 year old. They are divided into four divisions: ages 1-3, 4-6, 7-12 and 13 and up.

Everyone draws numbers and arranges their chairs into a circle. Judges watch closely as each person turns and taps the person's egg to their left, trying to crack it. The cracked ones are out of the fight and this continues until one person is left standing. Each adult competitor starts with six dozen eggs. 

The winners receive a trophy, a certificate and of course, bragging rights. Anyone is welcome to come and compete and it gets competitive.

Some people buys their eggs and some people who raise chickens bring their own. But most swear by whatever tactics work for them to find their hardest eggs. Those strategies range from the dye they use to the chickens that lay the eggs.

Some will begin months in advance, checking the hardness of eggs and then picking the chicken that the hardest eggs come from and only using their eggs.

"I've heard some crazy strategies," said Carson Peters, Norman's grandson. "All me and dad do is boil the eggs in water and then we kind of fight them down a little bit. We boil about 18 dozen and get them down to 12 dozen so we can have about six (dozen) each."

"Fighting them down" is when they pit their own eggs against each other to weed out the weak ones. Most people do these kind of things, but Norman insists it's all luck.

Carson Peters, like his father, Jamie Peters, and his grandfather, Norman, has not missed a single Egg Fight in his life. They all say at the end of the day, it’s not about the person who wins but more about seeing friends and family that they don't get to see very often.

"It's all about fellowship," Norman said.