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Two rival boatloads of usually sane citizens of Egg Harbor, Wisconsin (US) will pelt each other with thousands of fresh eggs on October 2, re-enacting the great Egg War of 1825, which gave their tiny village (present population 250) its name.

Mrs Elizabeth Baird, a young passenger in one of the boats involved in the 1825 fracas, wrote in her journal that the battle began when men in a six-boat trading flotilla began throwing hardtack at each other while approaching a spot of land, until they ran out of ammunition.

A little later, she saw eggs flying in the air, some of which struck her head. The leader tried to stop the battle, but the fun was "too fierce to be readily given up." When they camped on that spot of land, she wrote that a storm was brewing - another egg storm! The great egg battle ended only for want of ammunition, and the men "laughed until exhausted."

Next morning, the shore was strewn with eggshells. Speeches were delivered, and the spot was formally christened Egg Harbor.

Fast forward to 2004. A few months ago, a great idea came to George Bisbee, 61, Director of Sales for Eames Farm, an Egg Harbor residential community offering single family condominium residences, featuring four orchards and a nature preserve.

"One morning I woke up and said, 'Well, we had this egg fight here, let's celebrate our heritage,'" he told Paul Brinkmann, a reporter from the local newspaper, the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

"The idea has already energized local merchants and plans are pretty solid," Brinkmann reported. "He hopes the re-enactment will become a regular thing, putting Egg Harbor on the map.

"Bisbee said he wants to use 3,000 eggs to honor that history, but the state Department of Natural Resources might have a different idea, according to warden Mike Neal.

"Neal already gave his blessing to an egg battle, as long as Bisbee promised to clean up. But Neal said Friday he didn't realize Bisbee is now advertising 3,000 eggs will be used. 'We'll have to talk about the number of eggs,' Neal said. Either way, Bisbee said the event should be fun to watch."

After reading Brinkmann's story on the Press-Gazette's website, we emailed George Bisbee, seeking more details. "The eggs for the re-enactment and the Long Egg Throw are being furnished by the Wisconsin Egg Producers Association," he replied. "The president of the Association operates a chicken farm that has two million hens laying eggs on a daily basis."

Wisconsin is not the only state to have had an historic egg war. California had a more serious one. We found a website which said:

The infamous Farallon Egg war (surely every California child knows this story) was fought on June 6, 1863. Bat Shelter and his gang of 25 armed men attempted to invade the Southeast Island and depose the Farallon Egg Company. After a 20 minute gun battle five men lay wounded and one dead. Bat was driven off. Shoot-out at the OK Egg Ranch? It almost has that Louis L'Amour flavor.

The Dovetail Gallery & Studio, housed in an original dovetail log home in the village of Egg Harbor, has a unique collection of decorated eggs in a display of ethnic and contemporary egg art designs from around the world.

Their website says: "Gallery owner and resident artist, Kathleen Beck is internationally known for her intricate carved and etched egg art designs and sculptures. Personalized eggs with names and dates are commissioned by customers to give as gifts. The egg traditionally symbolizes friendship and love in the heart of the giver."

Kathy has designed a special commemorative Egg Fight Re-enactment carved ostrich egg as the prize for a treasure hunt. To see a photo of Kathy with the egg, click HERE.



Here's a last-minute update from George Bisbee:

As my good friend said many years ago, just when you think you understand the situation, what you don't understand is that the situation just changed.

Mother Nature has stepped in with strong winds from the Southeast, changing later to Northwest.  There will be gusts over 30 knots with waves from 4 to 7 feet.  This has prevented the combatant boats from leaving their harbors.

However, we are undaunted!  We will now have a land battle!  It will occur at Eames Farm, which is private property, so we can go back to the original plan of using real eggs.  The two teams will face each other, and upon the signal, we will have our egg storm after all.  Unfortunately, I had to cancel the large order of eggs because of the Department of Natural Resources decision, but I have secured 500 eggs which will still be quite a show.

Thanks for posting the articles in your e-book.  I was called today from Canadian Public Radio in Toronto, who had picked up the egg fight story from the Boston Globe, which very well could have received the information from you.  The Associated Press has also picked up the story.

We hope to give you an egg-by-egg account of this stirring battle (with photos) in the November edition of this e-book.




Story first posted October 2004

Copyright 2004

Eric Shackle

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