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Porterdale reunion set for Aug. 18

PORTERDALE -- It's time to reminisce about days gone by in Porterdale again.

The annual Porterdale Reunion takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Porterdale Mill Lofts downtown.

"People from all over that grew up in Porterdale all get together and people meet and greet and walk around downtown Porterdale and talk about their memories," said Kay Coggin, president of Friends of Porterdale, the non-profit that is hosting the event.

Proceeds from a silent auction will benefit the restoration of the historic Porterdale Gym, which was nearly totally destroyed in a 2005 fire. The auction will include sports memorabilia provided by Porterdale native Betty Faith Jaynes, founder of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

Friends of Porterdale will also have for sale a Christmas ornament to benefit the gym restoration, as well as bricks that can be purchased and laid in the alleyway downtown in honor or memory of a loved one.

Memorabilia from mill days gone by will be on display, including a basketball uniform worn by local school players 50 years ago and the medical bag of Dr. J.B. Mitchell, the town doctor during the 1940s to 1960s.

"Everything in it is just like it was the day he passed away," said Coggin.

A book authored by Coggin's mother, Lucille Ivey Shaw, titled "Diary of a Cotton Mill Girl," will also be for sale.

Past reunions have drawn up to 400 people, and Coggin said she's discovered that those in attendance don't want a festival atmosphere -- they just want to sit and talk.

"It's a reunion, a coming back together, reliving the past. People who grew up in Porterdale love it beyond belief. It was like a family ... It's just a time of life that's gone. That's what we all do is come together and remember those times," Coggin said.