This annual picnic lunch at Dow Park is one of Dana Mann-Tavegia’s favorite CowBelles events. She fills her paper plate with roast beef sliders, pasta salad and fresh fruit. She brought the sliders and waves off compliments from other women, insisting they are easy to make. Other compliments and recipes are exchanged among the dozen or so women, along with stories about grandchildren, the sourness of chokecherries, exceptionally rainy days and too-short family vacations.
When the plates are thrown away, the CowBelles will get down to work. For now, it’s all about socializing and camaraderie, one of the major cornerstones of the group.
For the past 70 years, the Weston County CowBelles have been gathering once a month for lunch and business. These meetings are part of the group’s rich tradition of women with a shared interest in agricultural and all-things “beef.” Socializing is just one part of the mission, which revolves mainly around supporting the agricultural industry and passing the tradition on to younger generations through a host of educational programs. Over the years — along with selling afghans, napkins, cookbooks and more to sponsor a variety of events for youth — the women are mainstays in their red aprons serving lunch and dinner at the county fair, as well as at several events in between in support of FFA and 4-H.