Slaking their thirst (& more)
Despite the 90-degree temperatures Saturday afternoon, hundreds of Rome residents and visitors were enjoying the annual Rome Beer Fest at Heritage Park.
Under the shade of the park’s gazebo (which was serving as the VIP lounge for the event) Erica Simpson sipped a beer, chatted with guests and even took photos for festival-goers. Simpson is the event’s organizer and said she was excited to see so many people having a good time despite the warmer weather.
“We had 700 tickets sold presale,” she said. “But obviously we’ve got a lot more than that since a lot of people just bought tickets today. I’d say there’s at least 1,000 people out here right now.”
The festival featured 160 different beers for guests to sample. All guests, except those who purchased designated driver tickets, received a sampling cup when they entered the festival and could get as many 4-ounce pours as they wanted.
There were 24 tents set up in the park but they weren’t all serving beer.
“We’ve got Mellow Mushroom and The Foundry selling food,” Simpson said. “Old Havana is here selling cigars and we’ve got four great bands playing live music. I think everyone’s having a great time.”
People are excited to be here and they’re excited about our T-shirts,” she added, referring to the new design for this year’s shirts which featured two glasses of beer beneath the Capitoline Wolf and the tag line “Do As The Romans Do.” All the volunteers were wearing the shirt as well as several guests.
Rome resident Stephen Laseter was sipping from the beer stein he was given as a VIP ticket holder. That ticket also got him into the event an hour earlier than most people.
“This is our fifth year coming to beer fest. We love it,” he said. “My wife usually likes the ciders but she’s branching out since we’re here.
“We always get to see people we don’t usually see. It’s a great time.”
Other than the sampling and the music, the festival also included a home brew competition and a new feature.
“New to this year’s event is that people get to vote for their favorite Georgia beer,” Simpson said. “The winners will be featured at The Foundry Growler Station.”
Jeanne Fuller, a Marietta resident, was visiting friends in Rome this weekend and they decided to see what was going on downtown.
“We just happened to see that Beer Fest was going on so we came out, and I’m glad we did. This is great,” she said. “I mean it’s really hot but the beer is cold and everyone’s enjoying themselves. I’ll definitely come back next year. And I’m bringing my sunblock.”