Jackson family in Gary to mark pop star's birthday
Prince, left, and Paris Jackson, son and daughter to the late pop icon Michael Jackson, display T-shirts given to them by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Gary, Ind. Members of Michael's family are in the Northwestern Indiana city on what would have been Jackson's 54th birthday (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
GARY, Ind. (AP) — The scene outside the childhood home of Michael Jackson resembled a party as fans joined members of the pop star's family for a vigil Wednesday, which would have been his 54th birthday.
Fans danced to Jackson's music prior to the arrival of his children and mother at the house at 2300 Jackson St., where the King of Pop, his siblings and their parents lived until 1969. In the days after Jackson's death in 2009, the singer's admirers piled stuffed animals, flowers and photos outside the tiny home in Gary.
Michael Jackson impersonator Carlo Riley from Denver, left, poses with Rev. Jesse Jackson near Michael Jackson's boyhood home during a celebration marking what would have been Jackson's 54th birthday Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Gary, Ind. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)
Among those at the Wednesday night vigil was Andrei Tejada, 32, a Chicago veterinary technician student who said she was pleased that Jackson's relatives were attending the event.
"They still remember where they started, and it shows they appreciate where they started. It's a humbling experience to know they are here," said Tejada, who said she visits the Jackson childhood home once a month.
Michael Jackson impersonator performs to recorded music outside Jackson's boyhood home during celebrations marking what would have been Jackson's 54th birthday Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Gary, Ind. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)
Other events planned by the family in Gary include a dinner Friday and a concert Saturday.
Before the vigil, Jackson's children, 14-year-old Paris and 15-year-old Prince Michael, were given blue "Team Gary" T-shirts by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson as they posed for pictures at a casino overlooking Lake Michigan.
"We just want you to know how much he meant to us and the city of Gary," the mayor said.