Twenty-five years after the passage of state legislation making their creation possible, St. Paul's charter schools are teaming on Saturday to host their first school-choice fair.

Gathering schools under one roof is not new. But St. Paul's charter schools had to decide whether to create their own event after the St. Paul School District said it no longer would host a large, one-stop fair that made room for the city's charter schools, too.

Instead, the district opted to limit its outreach to families sifting through its preschool and kindergarten options, and to go in-house by holding the event Jan. 9 at Washington Technology Magnet School. Before, the fair was held at the spacious RiverCentre downtown.

The St. Paul Charter School Fair will run from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Saint Paul College, 235 Marshall Av., and will include representatives from at least 35 schools.

"The fair gives students and families the chance to interact with school administrators and teachers, and ask questions and learn more about the great opportunities and innovative formats charter school education offers," a flyer for the event states.

A 1992 Star Tribune story that previewed the opening of City Academy, the nation's first charter school, described the schools as "educational laboratories" free of district controls and constraints.

For more about the fair, go to