Norman Peters' backyard in Carter County is calm now. But Easter Sunday afternoon, a big fight will break out for the Peters Hollow Egg Fight, a nearly 200-year-old tradition.
"It's supposedly 191 years old," Peters said.
It all began over barnyard bragging rights. "It all started when the farmers of Rome Hollow challenged the farmers of Peters Hollow to see whose chickens laid the hardest eggs," Peters explained.
Egg fighters of all ages from all over flock to the event, not to throw eggs, but tap them. "[You gently tap] the eggs until one breaks," Peters said.
Of course, to have an egg fight you have to have eggs, so every Easter weekend it's become a tradition as well for Joyce Peters to get cracking in her kitchen. "Every year this is what we do to get ready," Joyce said. "I boil a dozen or a dozen and a half eggs at a time in food coloring. No vinegar, no salt, no additives. Just the food coloring in water."
Using eggs from free range chickens. That's one hard theory for a shock-absorbing shell, along with feeding chickens oyster shells. "I don't think there's any way of knowing [how to make them harder]," Joyce Peters said. "A lot of people say oyster shells, but I think it's luck."
Whoever has leftover eggs that haven't come out of their shells wins the trophy as the egg fight champion.
This is an Easter tradition that won't be broken anytime soon. "It just wouldn't be a traditional Easter Sunday around here without the egg fight," Norman Peters said.
The Peter's Hollow egg fight begins Easter Sunday afternoon at 2:00. To get there from Broad Street in Elizabethton, take State Highway 91 toward Stoney Creek and Shady Valley. Go approximately six to seven miles and look for Peter's Hollow Road on the right. Turn right and proceed to 347 Peter's Hollow Road.