Rome Hot Air Balloon Festival

Looney Tunes characters will be one of the several features seen at the upcoming inaugural Hot Air Balloon festival in Rome. / Contributed

This coming Friday afternoon on Sept. 14 at 4 p.m. the “Rome Young Marines” will present the colors thus marking the opening of the first ever Rome Balloon Festival.

Jeremy Kwaterski, Director of Rome Balloon Festival said, “In past years the beautiful, tiny little town of Menlo with a population of 200 or so played host to the festival and brought in over 20,000 people the first year! We wanted to be in a bigger venue and the Richard B Russell Airport in Rome is perfect.

He went on to say that “we are planning on this being an Annual event, and we are very excited about working with the great folks at the City of Rome, and Floyd, and County as well as the great organizations like the Museum of Flight and the Tiger Flight Foundation for years to come.”

The NWG Hot Air Balloon Festival started in 2008 up in the Menlo/ Summerville area, So this is the first time for the Festival to be held in Rome.

The organizers are planning a much larger crowd than years past and looking for good balloon flying for the two day event.

There will be Hot air Balloons of all shapes and sizes, and include the characters from Looney Tunes, and the crowd favorite the Purple People eater.

At this time about 20 hot air balloons will participate.

There will be a “Fly In” and car show, additionally there will be a number of airplanes, both military and civilian on display.

The festival will have 100’s of craft and retail vendors and some fantastic food served in our food truck pavilion.

Organizers added that there will be a Kiddie Carnival Land, with bounce houses and games.

The public will be able to experience the thrill of flight in a hot air balloon by being able to board a tethered balloon for $20 per occupant.

They encourage brining the entire family, as there will be something for everyone.

Ken Suffridge, a member of the Museum of Flight, and long time Air Show Narrator will be the Emcee for the two day event.