BANV & family hit the annual Darlington Apple Festival for the first time today. And, quite honestly, we had a little trouble finding the apples. I’d read quite a bit about the apples, the apple pie making contest and a friend of mine told me I had to try the apple dumplings. I envisioned a cinnamon-spiced apple feast. I saw my first glimpse of fruit at the entrance where the Sweet Aire Farm had a stand full of bushels of organic apples. I assumed they’d be the first of many. But if there were others, I seem to have missed them. A stand offering “Apple Delight,” an apple treat of golden apple slices covered with caramel and whipped cream stood nearby. But after that, you had to really look for the apples. There was an unusual vendor offering realistic models of fake foods made from materials from Home Depot. There were tons of crafters offering fleece blankets emblazoned with the Ravens logo and those wooden 2-liter soda bottle holders that store your soda bottles horizontally so that their corks don’t dry out. I did find the apple dumplings and they were delicious. The Stephenson Masonic Lodge sells them hot off their enormous black grill — a whole, skinned apple with a core full of cinnamon enrobed in pastry and bathed in syrup. After that, it was a lot of crafts, funnel cakes and lemonade. If I looked closely at some of the church-sponsored booths, I noticed they offered apple pies and some apple dumplings to take home. But it was nothing like the quaint little apple festival I attended in western New York where they offered everything from apple pizza to apple fries. Not that I would highly recommend trying either of those things more than once, but that festival really put the apple in “apple festival.” On our way back through the fair, I considered taking home some of the colorful mums for sale or a bushel of apples, but I just couldn’t face hauling them up the street and onto the packed buses that ferried the thousands of festival-goers to their cars parked in nearby fields. Some folks did, apologizing to their fellow passengers all the way. To satisfy our apple craving, we stopped at Wilson’s Farm Market (2826 Conowingo Rd.) on our way home and loaded up on apples, cider, pumpkins and mums. We’ll have to go back from the caramel topped apple pie. The last one went to the lady in front of us in line.