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Turpentine Festival draws hundreds

    The 26th annual Catface Country Turpentine Festival drew hundreds to Portal for a weekend of family fun.
    The Turpentine Festival, which is hosted by the Portal Heritage Society, Inc., lasted for two days this year instead of one.
    "The vendors didn't want to come for just one day," said Ruth Akins, Portal Heritage Society member. "They wanted to come for two days to make it worth their while."
    Akins said turpentine making is a 'lost family oriented art,' and the Turpentine Festival is a place where families can come and spend the day together playing games, eating food, shopping at booths and learning about turpentine.
    A long parade of floats, tractors, horses, and even a replica of the Bulloch County Courthouse kicked off the two-day festival.
    One of the attractions at the festival this year was a game and booth that had live snakes, crabs and iguanas. Alicia Vickery, mother of two, said her kids loved that.
    "My two children particularly like the snakes," Vickery said. "I can't believe my 3-year-old pet the snake."
    What Vickery said she liked the most was all the local people.
    "There are so many local people here that get to showcase their goods for people to enjoy and see," she said.
    Darius Harden said he attends the festival every year.
    "I like to just walk around and look at all the stuff they are selling in the booths," Harden said.
    Carters Rocks-N-Rides had two big slides, a jump house, and a Berry-Go-Round for kids to enjoy. Charlie Drummer, 6, said the slides were his favorite part.
    "I jumped in the jump house and that was fun," Drummer said. "But then I slide down the slides and that was cool!"
    Austin Davis, who was reclining by a tree enjoying a snack, said he was having a great time.
    "My favorite part is all the games," Davis said. "But the coolest thing here is the slides. I look forward to doing that."
    Teen Miss Turpentine, Angelica Degracia, said she was new to the festival.
    "This is actually my first time out here," Degracia said. "So I'm just out here walking around and looking at everything here."
    Greg Parcell was spending the day with his friends at the festival.
    "I don't have a favorite thing here, everything is my favorite," Parcell said. "I just kind of walk around and see everything."
    A large audience enjoyed all kinds of live entertainment.  Saturday started off with dancing by the Southern Stompers, later came a comedy show followed by singing, and the 'Variations' played live music for the street dance at the end of the evening.
    The festival will continue Sunday with more family fun.  Sunday's live entertainment will be First Baptist of Portal, Aaron Church Group, Friendship Pickers, The Whitesville Males, Pine Grove Church, Light Weight, and The Christian Bells.

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