GARY | Gary's most celebrated native and his brothers are being honored in a rare photo exhibit that debuted Wednesday at South Shore Event Center at Majestic Star Casino in Gary.
The exhibit "Never Can Say Goodbye — Celebrating the King of Pop and J5," presented by the Chicago Blues Museum and Majestic Star Casino and Hotel, opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and was attended by Katherine Jackson, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and more than 300 invited guests.
The display will be featured through Sept. 5.
"I'm delighted that we have partnered with the Chicago Blues Museum to bring this exhibit here," said Chareice White, corporate director of community relations for Majestic Star Casino.
White said it's especially fitting to open the exhibit at this time since Michael Jackson's birthday is today. Jackson, who died June 25, 2009, would have turned 55.
"The exhibit gives a glimpse into the lives of Gary's famous sons," White said. Photos in the display, culled from the collection of Chicago Blues Museum founder Gregg Parker, depict various stages in the careers of Michael Jackson and his brothers. Pictures from performances in Gary by The Jackson 5 to shots of the King of Pop's solo career are highlighted.
At Wednesday's event, Craig Ghelfi, general manager of Majestic Star Casino, said it was an honor to have the notable exhibit on the casino grounds.
"It's great and always exciting to do something for Michael Jackson and his family. They are Gary," Ghelfi said. "We're proud to have Gregg Parker and his group (Chicago Blues Museum) here."
Freeman-Wilson welcomed the crowd to the event and said she was particularly happy that Katherine Jackson was a special guest.
"It's no surprise to me that Michael and his brothers have made such great accomplishments around the world seeing the type of person their mother is," Freeman-Wilson said.
Katherine Jackson, who was presented with flowers, thanked casino personnel, the mayor, blues museum organizers and guests.
"So graciously for the last three years you all have done this (honored Michael). I thank you so much," Jackson said.
The exhibit was scheduled to open to the public at 10 p.m. Wednesday and remain open through Sept. 5.