Lydia Brown jumped up and down in the bouncy house on the front lawn of Princeton Elementary School, just one of the many children's activities at the eighth annual Princeton Community Day on Saturday.

"Mommy, watch this!" she said, as she wove her fingers into the netting and prepared to jump once more.

Mom Emily Brown cheered on the 6-year-old, a kindergartner at the school.

"It's a good opportunity for the kids to come," she said. "I bring her just so she can see what the community is like."

Emily said her parents' church also had a booth. Sardis Baptist Church was offering up balloons, a little bit of magic and a puppet show.

Nearby was the larger-than-life symbol for fire prevention, Smokey Bear -- a 25-foot fiberglass character whose head swiveled, hands waved and mouth opened and closed. Oh, and he also "talked" to the crowd below.

"Check me out. I'm the coolest bear," he announced as families approached.

He even managed to call out some of the youngest in the crowd by name.

Like Josiah Hartley, 3, who craned his neck to look up at the looming presence.

Karen Hartley of Princeton tried to capture the moment, taking a photo of her husband, Jesse, along with grandchildren Josiah and his older sister, Glory Reign Hartley, 5.

"We come every year if it's possible," Jesse said of the event.

"We went to see the airplanes and we went to see the Red Cross truck," Glory volunteered.

Admittedly, though, she was partial to the big bear.

"Because he talked silly," she said with a giggle.

Brandon Talton, 10, had his sights set on the monster truck.

"It's ginormous," he said.

Accompanied by his mother, Tammy Talton, they were engaged in some light-hearted arguing about who had "broken" the huge one-of-a-kind vehicle secured this year from Hillbilly Mayhem. A 1982 classic square-body Chevrolet exterior covered in a camouflage design, the 10,000-pound truck was 12 feet tall and sat on 66-inch tires.

What made it especially unique was that is designed to give rides to passengers. The truck bed holds eight seats, providing passengers with a monster truck racing experience without all the risk.

Momentarily out of service during the festival, Tammy said she was holding onto her $20 -- charge was $10 per person -- in case it was operational again, so she and her son could enjoy a ride.

The Princeton Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual event, which also featured craft and food vendors, military and law enforcement displays, fire trucks and assorted entertainment options.

Tippy Toes Dance Academy, which opened in downtown Princeton in August 2004, performed several selections on stage.

Goldsboro was also represented in the neighboring community -- from The Bridge Church in Princeton selling hot dogs to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and Farrell Farms also being on hand.

The latter was offering samples of various nut products, as well as items for sale to support an orphanage in Bolivia.

Larry and Claudia Grady said they could have been working in a booth at a gun show in Fayetteville, but switched places with Dr. Frank Farrell, who founded Farrell Farms and inspired the effort to support the overseas mission.

"I like this better," Claudia said of the community day. "It's always wonderful."

"We get the nicest folks here," said her husband, longtime friends of Farrell.

Eastern Wayne High School Blue Note Jazz Ensemble was also invited to perform at the festivities. Formed four years ago, it competed and won Battle of the Bands at the Wayne County Arts Council in the Park Festival at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park in 2017. It also closed the Wayne County Arts Council Summer Jazz Series last year and will open the series for this year.

While the event is a gift to the community and focuses on family fun and community pride, there are two groups which especially benefit from the efforts.

The Chamber elected to share profits with Princeton Area Library Supporters and Safe Kids Johnston County.

Safe Kids has been a long-time participant in the Community Day, said Jennifer Williams, Safe Kids Johnston County coordinator.

The focus at this year's booth was on water safety as well as bicycle and firearms safety.

Proceeds received from the event will be earmarked to purchase car seats for families unable to afford them, she said.

"We always try to find one thing every year," she said, explaining that the nonprofit offers child safety checks throughout the year and worked to educate parents on proper use and installation.

"If we can, we try to provide them with a car seat.

"Unfortunately, we're out of car seats and out of funds."