By Jane Howe
Special to The Dagger
This Saturday, the historic Village of Darlington, will emerge from the mist for the 26th annual Darlington Apple Festival. Thousands of people will show up, have a great time, and quietly go back into the mist for one more year. By Sunday morning, it will be hard to see any evidence that the festival even happened. That’s because people care here. Vendors know that they need to clean up their area as they pack up. Volunteers help clean up the grounds and the crowd seems to know that Darlington is special and something to be respected.
The festival began as a way to help local churches and civic organizations raise funds for community outreach. Now it is a line item in their budgets and the biggest fundraiser of the year. Run by an all-volunteer steering committee, these are dedicated people who sweat the details of such an incredible event.
Since there is no admission fee, people are asked to please bring a non-perishable food item to “Stuff the Bus” on Shuresville Road. All food items will be distributed through the Twice Blessed Thrift Shop. Monetary donations will also be accepted so the Thrift Shop can purchase perishable food items as needed. The bus is provided by Harford County Transit and staffed by volunteers from Armstrong Cable Company. In addition, a football toss, down in front of Darlington Elementary, will benefit the Thrift Shop this year. Get a strand of Purple Beads!
Elaine Calderon, Chair Person, says, “It’s easy to judge a small town for what it doesn’t have, I try to focus on what makes this a great town and celebrate it. Having been raised in this town myself; I know firsthand how much love there is in this community. Small towns like Darlington rely on festivals like ours. I chair the committee that makes this festival happen to give back to this community everything it has given me over the years and to help keep it a great place to live and raise my child.”
If the Darlington Apple Festival has a signature dish, it might be the “Apple Delite” located at the top of Shuresville Road next to the Country Store. You can watch your apple being peeled and spiral sliced. Then it is topped with warm caramel and fresh whipped cream. The proceeds from this food station benefit the Wilson Ministry Center. Chuck Bradford, Chairman of the Board, says that raising money for the budget is paramount at this event. “ The Apple Festival carries the Wilson Center for the year and is our one and only fundraiser.”
Free entertainment at the Hay Bale Auditorium features Chris Monaghan, Ed Sager & Friends, Oak Grove Quartet, Gospel Travelers and Across the Tracks. Come early and stay late, but please leave your four footed critters at home. See the website: www.darlingtonapplefest.com or Facebook for details.