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Beer Fest brings crowd to Heritage Park

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Beer aficionados could sample as many as 150 different brews Saturday at the 10th annual Rome Beer Fest. Some, like Gary Ray Johnson of Rome, said he wanted to try as many as he could. Others like Mick Pyle of Cartersville said he would try a few, but came over with his son, Mac Pyle from Athens, primarily to people watch.

There were plenty of people to watch, much to the delight of the Rome Area Council for the Arts, which uses the event as one of its major fundraisers each year.

“We’re hoping folks enjoy a great day, then go over to Broad Street and get something to eat before they head home,” said Mandy Maloney, executive director of RACA. Announcements were made frequently from the stage encouraging folks who may have sampled a few too many to contact organizers for help getting home safely.

Maloney said since the event has become a favorite way for Romans to say good-bye to summer and turn the calendar to fall, breweries large and small actually contact RACA now about being a part of the event. “The art of craft brewing is so popular now and our distributors are so amazing, so it’s not hard to find good beers,” Maloney said.

Johnson, who retired from the Rome-Floyd County Fire Department but went back to the department on a part-time basis, said just socializing and having a good time was what brought him to Heritage Park. “I’ve tried maybe 15, just sips,” Johnson said. “They’ve got some really good beers — and some that aren’t so good.”

Mac Pyle said he’s been coming to Rome for the event with several of his friends for two or three years. Saturday, he brought his father, Mick, over from Cartersville. “It’s fun and after this we’ll go downtown and get some pizza,” Mac said. His father said Saturday’s Rome Beer Fest was his first. “I’m not going to drink a lot of beers, I just enjoy seeing all the people,” Mick said.