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Portal set for 2012 Turpentine festival
31st annual event this weekend
In the shadows of the old turpentine still, Shiann Hagins, 16, center, enjoys the limelight on the dance floor during last year's Catface Turpentine Festival in Portal. The festival will return to Portal this weekend for the 31st time. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file

The tiny town of Portal in northwestern Bulloch County will be filled with visitors this weekend as the 31st Annual Catface Country Turpentine Festivals gets under way.
For two days, people will enjoy live entertainment, kids’ attractions, arts and crafts, a parade, food, games and more.
Portal Heritage Society members host the festival, which will include cornhole and horse shoe tournaments, according to
The parade through downtown Portal will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, with local dignitaries, beauty queens, antique tractors and more.
Afterward, people will gravitate to the E.C. Carter Turpentine Still, where vendor booths, children’s activities and entertainment will be held.
Saturday, a horse shoe tournament will be held, followed by a street dance. Sunday, a cornhole tournament will draw a crowd at 1 p.m.
A variety of foods, including rosin potatoes, hamburgers, funnel cakes and pork skins will be available, and visitors will see pine tar cooked into turpentine. Turpentine will be sold as well.
 The Portal Heritage Society hosts the festival in celebration of the town’s agricultural history. Portal once was a bustling turpentine community that produced mass quantities of the substance, which can be used for a variety of things including paint thinner, varnishes and wound treatment.
The old E.C. Carter Turpentine Still, one of   only three left in Georgia, is fired up each year so turpentine can be made while people watch. The still was in operation from the 1930s until the 1960s.
The festival is named after the slashes cut into a pine to bleed the pine tar, which resembled cat’s whiskers.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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