Thurmont native Karen Crum begins a dream job today as The Great Frederick Fair's first social media planner and public relations coordinator.
"This is a dream come true," said Crum, 21. "I have grown up attending The Great Frederick Fair with my family. I am very passionate about agriculture and have wanted to find a career to promote the industry and educate the public on its importance, and this is perfect."
Crum said her initial top priorities will be to expand the fair's audience on a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest and blogs.
"I want to start conversations with different communities and utilize social media to increase awareness and attendance at The Great Frederick Fair and happenings at the E-ventplex at the Frederick Fairgrounds," Crum said, "and I will definitely tap into my personal network to help disseminate what's happening at the GFF."
Crum, daughter of Cory and Debbie Crum, will also network with the fair's volunteers.
A recent high-honors Hood College graduate with a bachelor's degree in communications, Crum is involved in Frederick County Young Farmers and serves on the Frederick County Farm Bureau Safety Camp planning committee.
She was a 4-H and FFA member and stays involved in Catoctin High School FFA Alumni, where she graduated in 2009.
Crum also took agriculture classes at the University of Maryland, College Park, and studied communications at Frederick Community College. She is secretary of the Maryland State FFA Alumni and received the American Farmer Degree at the 2012 FFA National Convention.
As part of her Hood internship, Crum broadened her experience with Susan Summers at AgriVisions Inc., an ag-based public relations company.
"We are extremely proud to have Karen join our team," GFF General Manager Becky Brashear said, "as she brings a whole new element to us (which is) really uncharted ground for us."
Today's communications levels are changing rapidly, Brashear said, and The Great Frederick Fair's vision "is to see our social media exposure grow, engaging those demographics that want their information fast and on their handheld electronic devices."
The fair attracts some 230,000 people to its website over a nine-day period each September, and that's a lot of people to get information disseminated to, not just in the Frederick area, but regionally, Brashear said.
In addition to the fair, some 300 events take place at the Frederick Fairgrounds throughout the year, attracting many out-of-towners, Brashear said. It takes someone to plan, coordinate and execute the message, and follow up with questions.
"I am looking forward to joining the team, learning from them and bringing some new ideas to the table," Crum said.
Frederick County agriculture is being put to the test by government regulations and a struggling economy, Crum said, but she remains optimistic about the industry's future.
"I see many agriculture advocates who are passionate and dedicated to making sure the industry survives and prospers," she said.
Crum's favorite ag-related quote is by President Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field."
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