Out of the many autumn events held in Aiken, one festival is the apple of many residents' eyes.


The St. John's United Methodist Church Women have been very busy putting together gift baskets, making casseroles, organizing an array of donated items and much more all in preparation of the annual Apple Fest which will be held on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Apple Fest is a day of family fun, good food and fellowship, said event co-chair Margaret Bridges.


“I hope people will come out and see that St. John's is a family and that we're a welcoming church,” Bridges said.


The event includes a silent auction for a variety of themed baskets and other items like antique furniture and a new bicycle. A room in the church has been transformed into the Second Hand Consignment Shop, filled with clothing for men, women and children that will be open today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and during the event Saturday. The church's gymnasium houses Twice Loved Treasures, for which a line of anxious attendees ready to dig through a variety of items always forms at the door before it opens, said Marsha Mikes.


The Bookworm Corner will have books, CDs and videos for sale, too. Handmade quilts made by women of the church will also be available for sale.


The Apple Seed Cafe will be open for meals, baked goods will be for sale and there will be fresh mountain apples available, too.


Each year, Apple Fest has a theme, and proceeds from the event are donated to several different charities. Christ Central, Epworth Children's Home and Aiken Community Medical Center will benefit from this year's event dubbed “Red Hot Apple-Looza,” according to St. John's Communications Director Midge Rothrock.


“It's a tradition and it's a wonderful, wholesome day,” Rothrock said.


The tradition of Apple Fest began in 1952, when the women of St. John's started a celebration that included a bazaar and a turkey dinner. The turkey dinner is now held separately from Apple Fest. The dinner will take place Nov. 21 and tickets for that event will be sold at Apple Fest.


The event will take place at St. John's United Methodist Church located on Richland Avenue at Newberry Street.


Admission is free.


For more information, call 803-648-6891 or visit www.stjohns-umc.org.


Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010.