Cowpens' Namesake Hosts 33rd Mighty Moo Festival
COWPENS, S.C (NNS) -- Sailors from both U.S. Navy ships named for the battle of Cowpens attended a five-day festival here to honor those who have served aboard the ships that have shared a name with the town.
Sailors from CVL-25 and CG 63 traveled from all around the world to take part in "The Mighty Moo Festival."
"We've been doing this for 33 years," said Jan Humphries, the Adopt-a-Crew dinner coordinator. "Each year over Father's Day weekend, we invite the crews from CVL 25 and CG 63 to come here and let us thank them for what they did in World War II and continue to do today."
The Mighty Moo Festival is a time for the townspeople to celebrate their history and to honor the veterans and crew of ex-USS Cowpens (CVL 25) and USS Cowpens (CG 63). The event brings people from around the region to this hamlet in northwestern South Carolina swelling their numbers from 2,200 to nearly 5,000.
"We are all here to say thank you to our veterans," said Pam Camp, chairperson of the Mighty Moo Committee. "Our World War II vets have been coming here for years and we love having them. We just want these fellas to come here and let us take care of them for a while."
"Words can't explain the joy we have when coming to The Mighty Moo Festival, the battleground and being with our families that have adopted us," said Carswell Wynne, a veteran of USS Cowpens (CVL 25) and regular attendee of the Mighty Moo Festival.
Among the many highlights of the event are the Adopt-a-Crewman dinner and the parade.
"These people are the absolute finest people you will find anywhere in America," Wynne said. "They wear their patriotism on their sleeve and really open more than their town to us, they open their homes and hearts. Words cannot describe the tremendous emotions involved at this festival. People just have to experience it first hand to really know how much this town loves their country and those who have served in the military."
After the parade down main street featuring a red, white and blue float carrying World War II-era Sailors and their namesake crew members from CG 63, the town sponsors a Walk of Honor, where Sailors representing USS Cowpens (CG 63) place a wreath at the Veterans Memorial and then salute the veterans of the area as they come to pay their respects to those who have served before.
The festival continued with a live band and fireworks marking the end of the festivities.
"We're going to be planning next year's festival just as soon as we get cleaned up from this year," said Jamie Caggiano, who along with the crew of both ships and the people of Cowpens, offer this challenge to former Cowpens Sailors, "Just try to come to one festival. I am sure you won't be able to stay away the next year."
"You just come down here one time," Camp said. "Let us show you how much we appreciate all you have sacrificed to serve our country and keep our freedom secure. Once you let us show you how much we really do appreciate your service and the sacrifices of your families and just get to say 'thank you' I'm sure you'll want to come back."