The Elyria Apple Festival began in 1980, with a pumpkin of an idea.
The idea for the festival began in the spring of 1980 at an Ohio Banks Association meeting in Columbus, Ohio. Attending from Elyria were Bill Fitch and Al Murphy of Elyria Savings and Trust (now FirstMerit) and John Bates, manager of the Elyria Chamber of Commerce. The program at the meeting was presented and intermingled with The Pumpkin Festival in Circleville, Ohio. The group from Elyria was so enthused they decided to hold a festival in Elyria.
The purpose of the Apple Festival remains as in the beginning – to promote Elyria with celebration. The dollars acquired are saved for future years’ programs and invested to improve the downtown square at Ely Park. Some of the improvements due to Apple Festival dollars are the lighting at Christmas, the fountain, gazebo, and clock.