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Porterdale Reunion scheduled for Oct. 24

PORTERDALE - Old friends, long-time residents and newcomers are all invited the 2009 Porterdale Reunion/Festival on Oct. 24.

The annual event has drawn hundreds of participants in the past, many who worked at the historic mill or lived in the town when the mill was thriving.

"A lot of them haven't seen each other in 40 years and a lot of them come to the reunion and it's the only time they see their friends, once a year," said Kay Coggin, president of Friends of Porterdale Inc., which is sponsoring the event, along with the city of Porterdale and the Porterdale Woman's Club.

But Coggin is hoping that newcomers to the area and people living outside of Porterdale will also join in the festivities.

"There's so much history in Porterdale. People come and tell stories. It's just a great day," she said.

The free event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Porterdale.

Those who attend are asked to register at Porterdale Mill Lofts and then head out to enjoy entertainment, a few arts and crafts booths and a bake sale sponsored by the Covington Woman's Club.

Entertainment will take place at the Old Depot and will include music by "Band of Brothers" from Perry; "Cruisin'" featuring Joe Capell and Anita Denny; "Southern Influence" with Ronnie and Marcia McCart and others.

The depot will also be turned into a "mini-museum" that day, featuring photographs and other memorabilia from days gone by, Coggin said.

Also, Friends of Porterdale will launch and sell the reprint of Lucille Ivey Shaw's book "Diary of a Cotton Mill Girl" about her life in Porterdale.

Reunion participants are encouraged to take a self-guided walking tour of historic Porterdale and make note of how the buildings are now being used.

"The theme for the reunion is the one carried over from the past two reunions, 'Bridging the Past to the Future.' We love the past and our memories of it, but Porterdale has many exciting projects taking place to make the town a wonderful future destination," Coggin said.

Located on the banks of the Yellow River, three miles from the county seat of Covington, in its infancy Porterdale was referred to as Boston Settlement.

The village later took on the name of Cedar Shoals because of all the beautiful cedar trees growing along the Yellow River, according to Coggin.

Around 1832, Cedar Shoals Manufacturing Company opened shop. In 1890, a charter was applied for under the name of Porterdale Mills Inc. With the naming of the mills, the village also took the name of Porterdale.

In May 1898 the mill was purchased by Bibb Manufacturing Company out of Macon. Bibb Manufacturing Company helped shape Georgia's textile industry during the 20th century as one of the state's largest employers and was the largest textile manufacturer in the world.

For more information about Porterdale, visit www.cityofporterdale.com.