ANNAPOLIS, JUNE 8 -- From the people who brought you "Baltimore's Best" comes a new statewide program that's not quite tourism, not quite promotion -- more like self-actualization.

"Maryland, You Are Beautiful" seemed to confuse even Gov. William Donald Schaefer a bit at its balloon-flying, flag-waving debut today at the picturesque City Dock. A buoyant Schaefer told a crowd composed mainly of state employes and officials that the program was intended to remind Marylanders to "see our state first," but program director Floraine Applefeld said that was not the primary goal.

"This is not a tourism thing," Applefeld told reporters. "This is a love affair between the people and their state."

Or put another way: "It's going to make our people think about our state in a new way. It will make people get up and say, 'We are beautiful people. We live in a beautiful state.' "

Maryland National Bank is contributing more than $250,000 for the program, and as a result will have its name and corporate logo displayed on "Maryland, You Are Beautiful" items ranging from bumper stickers to umbrellas. Applefeld, who ran promotion programs for Schaefer when he was mayor of Baltimore, said no state money would be used for the project and it was not intended to replace the state's tourism efforts.

Besides selling the merchandise, the first major project will be to find a "beautiful person" from each of the state's 23 counties and the city of Baltimore to be honored at a state reception in January. Applefeld envisions the "beautiful people" as being "unsung heroes" that will be chosen by each jurisdiction.

The campaign also includes television and radio spots and newspaper ads. Some will be paid, but Applefeld is counting on the media to be be enthusiastic about the program. "If you are a beautiful TV station, run the magnificent 60-second spot which will be mailed to you," Applefeld writes in a news release.

Applefeld also went to New York to persuade Steve Karmen, who wrote the "I Love New York" theme song, to come up with a ballad for Maryland. The result is "Maryland, You Sure Are Beautiful Today": Maryland you are / Beautiful, you are / Maryland you're taking my breath and / Stealin' my heart away / Maryland, you sure are beautiful today.

"This may sound like a very corny concept, but people like to feel beautiful about themselves," Applefeld said. "People like to feel good about their state."