The 34th Annual Portal Catface Country Turpentine Festival, slated for Saturday, Oct. 3, will feature a performance by 2015 Georgia Music Awards Country Male Artist of the Year Justin Dukes, as well as the traditional street dance, festival attractions and, of course, plenty of turpentine.
The annual festival celebrates Portal’s rich agricultural heritage that includes the production of turpentine. The E.C. Carter still, located in the heart of the small North Bulloch County town, is one of the last three working turpentine stills in the state.
The festival will kick off with a parade and end with a street dance following the Justin Dukes concert, said Portal Heritage Society President Carol Waters.
Held each year in the fall, the Catface Country Turpentine Festival is named after the slashes cut into pine trees to gather sap. The slashes, resembling cat whiskers, led to the term “catface,” according to historical records.
The event is a fund raiser for the Portal Heritage Society, which works to preserve the town’s historical sites, including the still, the home of Portal’s Dr. James A. Stewart and the old Stewart Drug Company, which holds a treasure of old pharmaceutical relics inside its clapboard walls.
The sites are on the National Register of Historic Places and serve as museums filled with artifacts and relics from days past, when the town boomed during times when turpentine was in high demand.
Waters said the Portal Heritage Society seeks sponsorship for the Justin Dukes concert. Dukes, a 21-year-old country music singer/ songwriter from Vidalia, has been singing and performing since he was 8. He has a catalog of 30 original songs and has played at more than 200 venues, according to www.reverbnation.com.
The Portal Heritage Society, a nonprofit organization, offers a variety of sponsorships, she said. A “copper” sponsor gets Facebook e-blasts and mention of sponsor boards on the festival grounds,
A “silver” sponsorship adds website recognition and a copy of the sponsor’s business card on fliers. “Gold” sponsors receive all this, as well as a copy of their business card displayed on a stage banner.
A “platinum” sponsor will also receive a 16X16 booth with electricity in prime location on the festival grounds, Waters said.
Sponsor boards will be displayed during the festival and other events for the period of one year.
“The support and participation of our local county businesses and residents are essential to making these events successful,” she said.
The parade starts at 10 a.m., on Hwy. 80 (Main Street), and the festival grounds on Turpentine Drive open afterward.
Food of all kinds, including the traditional funnel cakes, barbecue, rosin-baked potatoes and more will be available through vendors and the Portal Heritage society’s Burger Barn, she said.
Vendors will also offer a variety of crafts and gift items, while children will enjoy inflatables and rides.
Pure turpentine made on the grounds, will be for sale as well, she said.
A street dance with DJ Tommy Jenkins will follow the Justin Dukes concert, which begins at 5 p.m., she said.
Parade applications, sponsorship information and more maybe found at portalheritagesociety.org, and forms may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.
Justin Dukes is 21 year old country music singer/ SESAC affiliate songwriter from Vidalia, GA. He is 2015 GA Music Awards Country Male Artist of the Year. He has been singing and performing since the age of 8. He has a catalog of 30+ original songs and has played at 200 + venues from 2012-2014.