Washington County's Kaolin Festival next weekend

Kaolin Festival next weekend in Washington County

Washington County calls itself the "Kaolin Capital of the World."  Next weekend, they will celebrate the product that takes center stage in Sandersville. 

Joey Gidden and his wife own Geo's Quarters.

It's a t-shirt shop, so you can imagine the folks in Sandersville would want a product that incorporates their main claim to fame.

"I don't know that many people outside Washington County would know or recognize the name 'kaolin,'" Leia Giddens projected.  "So you wear this shirt and people ask, 'What in the world is kaolin?'"

That's a frequent question in these parts, so much so Katie Moncus says the chamber now hands out free little baggies of the stuff.

 "Some people want to know what the white stuff is on our roads and they want to know why there are white marks on the carpets and things," Katie said.

Kaolin is a chalky substance that comes out of the ground.

Washington County has four major plants that all sit fairly close to one another and dozens of mining sites.

Laura Hollie-Mock works in the industry.

"The first kaolin company was built in Sandersville in 1938," Laura said.

She added, back then, kaolin went into a lot of paper products. Today, our society is more electronic, but kaolin has found it's way into plenty of things.

"Ceramics, tableware, it's in building materials," Laura rattled off. "In Turtle Wax, there is kaolin in Turtle Wax. It is so diverse that you can't, basically every day, you're going to touch something that has kaolin in it."

Which brings us back to Geo's. Leia's decked out her lips with a product made from kaolin.

"But it is smudge-resistant smooch and kaolin makes it smudge-resistant," she said.

Makes sense. After all, kaolin is a product that's left its stamp on time.

The Kaolin Festival is next weekend.  Many of the events will happen at the Sandersville school.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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