Darlington shows off its apples Oct. 1

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Darlington Apple Festival is Saturday, Oct. 3

After it was canceled last year because of weather, the Darlington Apple Festival returns to Darlington on Saturday, Oct. 1 for its 30th year.

"This is an anniversary year for us," festival chairperson Elaine Calderon said.

The festival along Shuresville Road from Main Street to Francis Silver Park runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include an estimated 300 vendors.

Apples, apples and more apples will be everywhere visitors look with all types of apple treats available to eat on-site or take home.

Hosanna AME Church, of Darlington, St. James UAME Church, of Darlington, and St. James AME Church, of Havre de Grace, will all sell their fresh apple pies along with other assorted goodies.

Apple fare includes dumplings, fritters, apple crisp, caramel apples, cakes, butter and the favorite, apple delight – fresh apples with caramel and whipped cream.

New this year will be apple kabobs.

Art Johnson, of SweetAire Farm, will be selling all types of apples.

Children's activities include scarecrow making, pony rides, plaster figurine painting, temporary tattoos, sand art and hair paint.

Festival-goers can also get their pictures taken with one of four props, including a tractor.

Other vendors include crafts, farmers and public service.

Craft vendors been working hard to filter crafters, getting new ones this year.

An estimated 60,000 people attend the Darlington Apple Festival every year, Calderon said.

"There's sentimentality. People come as a family and they spend the whole day there," she said. "They like everything. They love that it's a street fair."

Calderon encouraged festival-goers to go early, if they're in search of apple goodies to take home – some of the vendors have run out in previous years.

Many people who attend the Apple Festival are repeat customers, Calderon said. And many of them shop with the same vendors, year after year after year.

New to the festival this year is a corn hole tournament sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bel Air.

"We want to create a new place for people who get tired of walking around looking at pumpkins and mums to retreat to," Rotary President Phil Crocker, who is on the board of the Darlington Apple Festival, said.

Fifty corn hole sets will be set up at Elberton Hill Farm, adjacent to the festival, with water, tents and music.

The club had planned on the tournament last year, but it was canceled when the apple festival was canceled because of the hurricane a few days earlier.

"Families can come up, set up, play corn hole, have their own little games, have some tournaments," he said.

This is the first year for corn hole, which is free and runs the same hours as the apple festival, but the club is hoping to build it into a real tournament over the next few years.

"It's for families, it's casual," he said. "Come out and have a good time. It's a place for kids to run around."

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