The Apple Festival has always been a celebration of the character and pride of the Darlington Community. Even before the idea was first conceived, Darlington was the home of community-spirited people who responded to the needs of its schools, churches and citizens. Then, in 1986, three well-intended Darlington locals with an entrepreneurial bent, Art Johnson, June Griffith and Tommy McCurry thought up the AppleFest. In the years before the first Applefest, the Darlington United Methodist Church held a spring strawberry festival as a fundraiser and a time to bring good friends together. They eventually morphed the spring strawberry event to a fall apple event. Meanwhile, the Darlington Country Store was holding a fall festival. It seemed like a good idea to combine the two events into a glorious day.