The late King of Pop's children are spending the rest of the week celebrating what would have been their dad's 54th birthday, on August 29, in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. Prince, 15, Paris, 14, and Blanket, 10, are visiting the city of approximately 80,000 for what's become an annual festival near the two-bedroom home Michael lived in until he became a star at age 11. The Jackson offspring reportedly traveled to the Midwest with their grandmother and co-guardian Katherine Jackson, cousin and co-guardian T.J. Jackson, and aunt La Toya Jackson to take part in four days of festivities, which kicked off on Wednesday, called "Goin' Back to Indiana: Can You Feel It." The events include a candlelight vigil, a formal dinner in honor of Katherine on Friday night, and a tribute concert Saturday night hosted by Paris herself, along with, oddly enough, "Extra" host Mario Lopez. In addition to be presented with "I love Gary" T-shirts, MJ's kids are set to throw out the first pitch at a local baseball game.
Paris, who along with her brothers gave out autographs to fans at the Jackson house on Wednesday, said she was grateful for the people who keep her father's memory alive three years after his death. "We've adjusted over the past years," she said. "And I think that coming here and seeing our dad's old house, and all the fans coming out, I think it's really sweet that they did that." Prince raved about the crowd of hundreds. "People are real nice here," he said. "It's amazing how much [my dad] was respected and loved." Even the shy Blanket chimed in that, "It's good to see the place where our dad grew up."
The Jackson brood helped to plan the Gary celebration for the first time after Katherine said she wanted Prince, Paris, and Blanket to learn more about Michael's hometown, according to the town's mayor, Karen Freeman-Wilson. The family seems to be in a somewhat better place now than it was in late July, when the court made T.J. a co-guardian of Michael's three children. The move came after Katherine, who had previously been the children's sole guardian and, therefore, the beneficiary of his will, was reported missing by some family members and said to be taking a vacation in Arizona by others. The same week, several adult members of the Jackson clan were involved in a physical altercation, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Throughout all of this, Paris has continued to be very vocal on her Twitter account. She paid tribute to her dad again on Wednesday, writing, "thru my joy & my sorrow, in the promise of another 2morro, i'll never let u apart for ur always in my heart... happy birthday i love u daddy."
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