The annual Catface Country Turpentine Festival, scheduled for Oct. 3 in Portal, has been cancelled. Jerry Lanigan, director of the festival for the Portal Heritage Society, stated that safety concerns related to the resurgence of COVID-19 infections forced the decision to cancel for the second consecutive year.
Lanigan noted that many people who serve as volunteers for the event are older people and some paying exhibitors had chosen not to participate this year. The Spirits House with its museum and informational discussions typically is crowded and is not designed for deep cleaning.
The festival Heritage Society’s main fundraiser.
The festival celebrates the rich agricultural heritage of the small, northwest Bulloch County town of Portal, where turpentine harvesting and distilling was once a booming business. The festival’s official name, “Portal Catface Country Turpentine Festival,” comes from the slash marks resembling cat’s whiskers that turpentiners made on the pine trees to gather sap.
The festival centers around the E.C. Carter Turpentine Still, one of only two remaining working stills in the state.
Planning has already begun for next year’s event, which is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2022.