The Socially Savvy Kerri Bonner

Kerri Bonner loves Paducah and wants everyone else to love it too. That’s why she started a social platform for the city of Paducah urging visitors and residents to “Partake in Paducah”. She’s Taylor Swift’s biggest fan and loves the legacy of Chief Paduke. iMeet this vibrant woman who calls Paducah home!

Welcome to iList, Kerri….Tell us about yourself...

I was born in Colorado and raised in Northern California. I graduated from California State University at Sacramento and then moved around the country with my husband - he was an active duty Marine officer. We met when he was stationed in San Diego. We have lived in Washington, DC, and Tampa, Florida before moving to Paducah three years ago.

Tell us about your lovely husband…

I’m married to Nute Bonner, a Lexington native, and we have a fur baby, a Maltese named Ari.

We want to know more about Partake in Paducah…

I created the @cityofpaducah social media platforms and blog shortly after I moved here to document my discovery of this new city. I gave it the hashtag #PartakeinPaducah so that I could organize and share my experiences with the community. The intention was to be inclusive.

People can interpret how they #Partake in Paducah. I love the pictures of our young residents enjoying Noble Park and pictures of family members sharing a meal at local restaurants. Whether it’s on the Greenway Trail, taking in a movie at Maiden Alley, or admiring an exhibit at the Yeiser — it’s been incredible to watch the account grow.

There are now over now 10,000 people following @cityofpaducah! Everyone is sharing experiences, places to visit, things to do, places to eat, etc.

#PartakeinPaducah has also taken off - used over 28,000 times by city officials, visitors, locals, and businesses. It’s an incredible community that has come together and the love of Paducah is our common ground. It’s a fresh, candid perspective of storied spaces in our city and it’s now our community’s guide to food, happenings, and life. 

How did this project evolve?

I simply created the account on Instagram to share my experiences with friends from back home and other Marine Corps wives around the world. I’m really fortunate that this has resonated with so many people - and the rest is history!

After only 2 1/2 years, people who used to live here, people visiting the area, and locals all follow along! I use a fair amount of my own photography and share photos from other people - I love all the unique styles and points of view.

I encourage guest takeovers in order to share another community member’s unique perspective.  I also host Instagram challenges where followers focus on a particular subject matter. 

Sounds like a lot of fun…have you had some interesting things happen because of this?

I’m always up for an adventure! Because of this account, I’ve been inside the freezer at Dippin’ Dots, watched bread come out of the oven at 4 am at Kirchhoff’s, was inches from the camera during live tapings of the local news broadcast, and sat on-stage during a rehearsal of PSO and Market House Theatre productions!

Do you have a day job?

I work for both Clix Marketing, a digital firm specializing in Pay Per Click (PPC) and Paducah Economic Development (PED). Partnering with PED also has allowed me to tell Paducah's story in an effort to attract investors, businesses, and new residents. It's a fantastic organization with great leadership that makes a difference every day.

Tell us about your fun Chief Paduke t-shirt…

Ahh the Chief! He’s the myth, the legend and the man who started it all! And… he needed a fresh look. I commissioned a Kentucky artist to give him an updated look and BAM! Now, he’s represented all over this country. I’ve had people from California to Maine buy one. Merchandise is available on partakeinpaducah.com — it’s a fun nod to Paducah’s great tale. 

What's the best part of your job?

Definitely no downsides to curating the account. I love the opportunities to meet new people, explore, and learn all about Kentucky.

A few weeks ago I was invited by the Kentucky State Fair to participate in an Instameet (an event with influencers from the state) to photograph various scenes from the fair. It was a great opportunity to represent Paducah and meet folks from around the Bluegrass.

I love trying new restaurants, attending ribbon-cuttings and representing Paducah at all kinds of festivities to share the happenings and the modern lifestyle of our city.

What's your absolute favorite thing about Paducah?

Definitely the people. I love the pride, longevity, and deep roots. Paducah is a welcome change from the urban scene of my upbringing in California. I’m used to living in huge cities but the western Kentucky change of pace is so refreshing. Everyone has been so kind and receptive - I feel fortunate. 

Tell me three unique things about yourself...

  1. I’m a twin.
  2. I eat ice cream with a fork and…
  3. I’ve been inside the Oval Office with President Obama.

What's your favorite holiday and why?

Easter - love the significance and the newness of spring.

If we caught you singing in the shower, what song would it be?

Definitely Taylor Swift! Any/every song! Ha!

Wow! You are a dynamo, Kerri Bonner! We’re glad you shared your projects with us on iList. Keep us posted on #Partake in Paducah.