New Rome beer festival date, new office, new director and new chair: Changing times for RACA. HHPodcast interview with Ali Booker and Chris Kerr.

New Rome beer festival date, new office, new director and new chair: Changing times for RACA. HHPodcast interview with Ali Booker and Chris Kerr.


Changes are well under way with the Rome Area Council for the Arts, including a new chair and a new executive director in addition to an office back on Broad Street.

Likewise, one of RACA’s main fundraisers — the September beer festival — is changing as well.

Those are some of the highlights from our latest Hometown Headlines Podcast interview, this one with Ali Booker, the new executive director of the arts group, and its new chairman, Chris Kerr. They joined us at Brand Red Studios in downtown Rome on Tuesday to talk about plans for an even greater outreach to “all the artisans in town.” That includes those beyond galleries, those on stage and the talent behind the music.

We’ll start with RACA’s highly successful annual beer festival, which has seen as many as 50 percent of its guests come from out of town as Rome’s reputation as a craft beer destination grows.

“We’re going to back that up a little bit so its a little cooler,” says Kerr, who was named chair earlier this month. “It can get a little toasty” during the normal mid-September festival and guests had asked about what could be done. “Beer can be maybe a little better when its 10 to 15 degrees cooler,” he says, targeting festival dates in late October or early November.

The festival is celebrating more than 10 years and usually is held in Heritage Park. Look for some changes to the festival both in focus and appeal.

That’s Ali Booker, middle, and Chris Kerr, right, the new executive director and chair of the Rome Area Council for the Arts joining us at Brand Red Studio in downtown Rome to discuss the changes with the arts group. Photo by Todd LaBerge of Brand Red.


The festival and Firefly Fling each spring currently are RACA’s main fundraisers. That could be changing as well.

One reason, says Booker, is because the organization continues to distribute what it takes in, needing very little for overhead. Adds Kerr: “That money that we raise, that goes directly back out… goes to good causes” in the community.

Deeper pockets will give RACA what it needs to assist and support even more people in the community, Booker says.

“There are so many incredible artists in Rome — potters, musicians, people doing film and television,” she says. RACA’s mission is to “get their names out.” Likewise, she wants the arts community to know “we’re here to support them… Our objective is here to support all the artisans in town.”

Booker, who’s relatively new to Rome, says it is “such a creative community.” She hopes to issue more grants and, in turn, “increasing our exposure” as an arts hub.

RACA has grown a closer affinity with helping younger artists and in different ways. It might be a community graphic design session or work with students at Anna K. Davie. And RACA wants to reach all levels of those involved in the arts, both Kerr and Booker say, including the technicians and sound managers and light coordinators and set designers working off stage on a production.

Booker and Kerr have much more to say about RACA and what’s next in our podcast. Please give it a listen by clicking RACA.

  • Ali and Chris joined us for this podcast at Brand Red Studios, 4 Bale St. off Fifth Avenue in downtown Rome. We thank Todd LaBerge for another round of solid podcast production. 

  • Our podcasts are now available on nine podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts. Go to the iTunes store app, search hhpodcast and click subscribe. You’ll be notified each time we update our podcast library. You also can subscribe at Stitcher. Click here. Other subscription options include Spotify, Anchor, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Overcast, Tune In and Radio Public.
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