Churches, Girl Scouts, firefighters, police, college officials and job agencies were among the groups that turned out.
"This community does need something positive," said mother Jeaneen Holman, 26, who brought three children. "If there's nothing for them to do they are going to look into the drugs."
More than 40 kids took part in the day, enjoying pizza, face-painting and crafts while learning about a variety of programs, services and volunteer opportunities.
"The trick is to get them to take the information after we lure them in with stickers and Band-Aids," said Earl Stoner, community outreach coordinator with the Washington County Health Department.
Kids like Brian Younger, 12, learned just how much fat was in his favority candy bar and how much sugar was in a soft drink. "This is a lot of fat," Younger said, holding up a large vial of white goo. "I don't believe this."
Younger said he enjoyed the fair. "I think it's neat. You can learn things that you never knew." Younger also picked up a U.S. News and World Reports Guide to America's Best Colleges and made a butterfly out of a pipe cleaner, tissue paper and clothespin.
Members of the Asbury United Methodist Church engaged the children in craft activities and recruited them for an upcoming youth program at the church, which will be held on Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. starting in a couple of months.
"They'll have some place to go other than just hanging out on the streets," said Marcia Saunders.
Republican mayoral candidate Bob Bruchey showed up to give his support. "Anything that helps our citizens get more involved in our city and in their neighborhoods, I'm all for," he said.
"This is an example of the people in the community getting together and helping themselves," said Fred Cialli of Habitat for Humanity. "They want to take back their community," he said.
"That's what Habitat is all about."
Cialli said Habitat planned to start building a home near the Martin Luther King center in the next three to four weeks.
Tom Parson, a supervisor at Roadway Express and a member of Blacks for Independent Growth, which pools money for investing in the stock market, told people about the job opportunities available. Parson, 43, said some loading dock workers make $18 an hour.
"You aren't going to succeed by staying around here all the time," Parson said. "This is not the real world."
Parson said kids need discipline to succeed. "This community worked out for me and it can work out for all of these kids with the proper guidance."
That guidance needs to start at home, Holman said. "What would really be nice is if the parents got involved with the children, not just send the kids out to play," she said.