Gary officials plan big celebration in honor of Michael Jackson

2012-08-17T19:15:00Z 2012-09-10T22:18:42Z Gary officials plan big celebration in honor of Michael JacksonDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

GARY | The life and legacy of Michael Jackson will be honored during a weeklong series of eventsĀ in the area starting Friday.

Gary officials, fans and family representatives of Jackson outlined those events at a news conference hosted Friday by Karen Freeman-Wilson at City Hall.

One of the highlights of this year's events will be the first-time involvement of Katherine Jackson, the mother of the King of Pop, family representative Jerry Olivarez said.

Freeman-Wilson said she looks forward to meeting Katherine Jackson and Michael's children, Paris-Michael, Prince "Blanket" and Michael "Prince."

"Mrs. Jackson loves the city of Gary and wants to reach out to the city. And we appreciate her for taking the lead and bringing all of these wonderful events to our city," Freeman-Wilson said.

This is the third year Gary has hosted a tribute for native son Michael Jackson, who would have celebrated his birthday Aug. 29.

Jackson died June 25, 2009.

The theme of this year's tribute will be "Goin' Back to Indiana," the title of a 1971 live/soundtrack album by the Jackson 5.

The salute in Gary will begin Aug. 29 at the old Jackson home, 2300 Jackson St. with a candlelight tribute ceremony.

The streets will be closed starting at 3 p.m. and the ceremony will begin at 8 p.m., officials said.

Fans are invited to place ribbons and flowers at the house and sign a commemorative billboard poster.

The Jackson children will be the guests of honor at the Gary South Shore RailCats baseball team's special tribute night Aug. 30.

The game, which starts at 7:10 p.m., will feature a musical tribute by the Gratitude Project, ceremonial ball toss, presentation of team uniform and video presentation and moment of remembrance.

Freeman-Wilson will host a tribute dinner reception honoring Katherine Jackson at the Majestic Star Pavilion on Aug. 31.

Presented by the Gary Chamber of Commerce, the event will feature a musical tribute by the Gratitude Project and a special presentation to Katherine Jackson.

In addition, there will be a Michael Jackson Tribute Concert featuring a musical salute to him at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1 at West Side High School, 900 Gerry St.

In addition to four days of celebration in Gary, there will be events planned by MJ Fanvention, Karen Williams said.

The three-day weekend package starts Aug. 24 and ends Aug. 26.

Weekend participants will stay at the South Loop Hotel in Chicago, then travel to Gary to see memorabilia, video footage and talk with special guests.

For updates and the latest information, visit www.facebook.com/jacksonstreet2012.

For information about the three-day weekend package, go to www.mjfanvention.com.

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