In recent years Grangers from the adjoining counties of Cambria and Somerset have been joining forces annually in hosting a special event to strengthen neighborly relations.
When Somerset and several neighboring counties worked closely with Cambria County Grangers in hosting the 2009 sessions of the Pennsylvania State Grange at the Pasquerilla Center in Johnstown, special friendships and bonds were formulated. That planning group began meeting many months before the Johnstown event to plan and begin money-making ideas.
The Johnstown session was so special that officers of the Pennsylvania State Grange have been dropping hints to see if the same counties might consider working together to host the 2015 annual session. While no decisions have been made toward such an undertaking, the same counties were invited to join Cambria and Somerset counties in their annual gathering — this year being a picnic — on June 2.
Once again the Buckhorn Grange Hall, which is located between the communities of Sidman and Wilmore, hosted the picnic and a program that included presentations by State Grange Master Carl Meiss of York County and State Lecturer Lorena Baughman of Blair County. The afternoon ended with a fun contest on a 1964 Planter’s Peanut advertisement and an amusing relay contest that was coordinated by David R. Hay, Somerset County Pomona Grange’s Lecturer (program leader).
The Grangers began gathering at 2 p.m. to enjoy delicious picnic food items that were supplied by the participating families. Host Cambria County supplied the chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers.
This year State Master Meiss is putting special emphasis on working with the Pomona Granges, the county organization, whose purpose is to assist and promote the activities of the subordinate chapters or community Granges located within their jurisdictions. State Master Meiss has plans for overhauling the current system utilizing state deputies for each county. He plans to make new appointments utilizing persons to work under supervision of State Grange to assist the various Pomona Granges.
There are currently 242 local or subordinate Grange chapters in Pennsylvania with a total membership of approximately 9,500 members. Across the USA there are 37 states that have Grange organizations. Pennsylvania currently ranks third in membership numbers.
State Lecturer Lorena Baughman encouraged Grangers to participate in the Grange Family Festival that was held in July at the Centre County Grange Fairgrounds, and to work on involving member participation in the talent contest and various other projects of the organization. The 140th annual sessions of the Pennsylvania State Grange will be held Oct. 20-22 in Butler County.
Cambria County Pomona Master Carol Hemminger welcomed the group. Also present was Mary Strittmatter, Cambria County’s program leader, and members of the Buckhorn Grange. Because the temperature was chilly, the picnic was held inside the hall instead of in Buckhorn Grange’s pavilion, which is adjacent to the hall.
The 10 Somerset County Grangers in attendance at the Cambria-Somerset County picnic included Somerset Pomona Master Jim Mowry; Esther Mowry; former Pennsylvania State Grange Master William H. Ringler; Helen Weigle, Alverda Luce, Willard Simpson, Beverly Truscott, Florence Shaffer, Virginia and David Hay.
Pomona Master Jim Mowry extended an invitation to Cambria County Grangers to travel to Somerset County during the summer of 2013 for the next adjoining counties visitation activity.
Somerset County Pomona Grange’s autumn session will be held beginning at 7 p.m. Oct. 5. Theme for the program will be “The Season’s Ripe for Apples.” Wills Grangers will host the session at the community room of Somerset County Rural Electric at the Somerset County Industrial Park. Members are encouraged to display creations or photos featuring the apple theme.