A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the 10th annual Maryland Wine Festival at the Carroll County Farm Museum.
For the fourth year in a row, my husband and I and some out-of-town friends spent an enjoyable afternoon in the beautiful park setting of the Farm Museum.
As we walked the grounds, I found myself thinking about the activities held by the Farm Museum throughout the year and what a job it must be to promote its many events.
Then I thought about Dottie Freeman, whose name, for me, is synonymous with the Carroll County Farm Museum.
Certainly, no one knows the comings and goings at the Farm Museum better than she.
Ms. Freeman, who works as the administrative marketing specialist for the Farm Museum, is responsible for making sure that the public is aware of the many activities taking place at the county's most popular tourist attraction.
Each year, the Farm Museum plays host to an array of fun-filled events. And standing in the wings, making sure each one goes off without a hitch, is Ms. Freeman.
"I love promoting Carroll County and the Farm Museum," Ms. Freeman said. "I was raised here in Westminster by my grandparents, and I feel a part of Carroll County. Over the years, I have watched things change and happen here. I have a lot of background and that background makes my job a bit easier."
For nearly seven years, Ms. Freeman has been a member of the Farm Museum staff.
Working first as a secretary and tour coordinator, then administrative assistant, Ms. Freeman found her niche when she became the Farm Museum's marketing agent in 1990.
"I love to write, and I am able to do that by promoting all the events that go on at the Farm Museum," Ms. Freeman said. "There are probably 15 major events and various other functions that take place throughout the year."
The most popular Farm Museum event is without a doubt the Maryland Wine Festival.
The festival is an extravagant two-day event that features the favorite fruits of 10 local wineries. Entertainment, food booths, craft and commercial vendors add to the affair.
Each year, thousands of visitors, both local and out-of-state, attend this pre-fall festivity.
"The Wine Festival takes the most time to promote and coordinate," Ms. Freeman said. "There are a lot of outside people to contact and schedule. Any time we deal with people outside of our staff, it takes a lot of work."
This year's wine festival was visited by not only some 18,000 people, but also representatives from an international news service.
"We [the staff at the Farm Museum] were very proud to host an Associated Press journalist and photographer on the first day of the wine festival," Ms. Freeman said. "I wish that the weather would have been better for them on Saturday. They seemed to be able to get what they needed."
Since the wine festival ended, Ms. Freeman has been focusing her attention on the Farm Museum's 27th annual Fall Harvest Festival.
The two-day event will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is expected to draw anywhere from 11,000 to 15,000 people.
"The Fall Harvest Festival is a big event. This was the very first festival the Farm Museum had when it opened in 1966. I would say it is right behind the wine festival in that it takes a lot of work," Ms. Freeman said.
Highlighting the Fall Harvest Festival will be the biggest-pumpkin competition, homemade apple butter, scarecrow making, horse-drawn hayrides and plenty of food and crafts.
Make no mistake -- the planning and promotion of these large affairs can be hectic, but like any job it does have its rewards.
"Each year I receive highlights as the promotion person. This year there were the visits from the Associated Press and Southern Living magazine," Ms. Freeman said. "Southern Living magazine came in the summer, and they are going to do a spread on the Farm Museum which will appear next summer."
* Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., the Forest Friends puppet show will be presented at the Bear Branch Nature Center off Route 97 in Westminster.
Children ages 3 to 10 and their parents are invited to attend this fun and frolicking puppet show.
Admission is free.
* During the month of October, get into the spirit of fall with a visit Baugher Enterprises at Route 140 and Baugher Road in Westminster.
Every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., take a ride on the hay wagon to the Baugher pumpkin patch.
Once you are there, search for the Great Pumpkin or a medium-sized pumpkin or a little pumpkin.
The cost of the hayride is $1 and your pumpkin selection will be priced by its size.