Celebrations for Michael Jackson’s birthday kicked off on Thursday in his native city of Gary, Indiana.
What started off as just a simple block party has morphed into an annual three-day festival that stretches beyond 2300 Jackson St. in honor of the King of Pop.
The Michael Jackson Tribute Festival of the Arts focuses not only on the the famous musician, but also on encouraging new artists. “(We want to) let them know it’s a good thing to develop the arts,” Karvin Johnson, one of the event’s promoters, said. “Develop your creativity.”
Previous events celebrating Jackson’s birthday on Aug. 29 have centered around his boyhood home at 2300 Jackson St. This year’s events — the fifth since he died in 2009 — have grown to encompass the nearby Roosevelt High School campus and will feature local and new artists.
Jackson’s mother, Katherine Jackson, spearheaded the event, Johnson said, and she and other family members, including Michael Jackson’s children, will attend.
“She wants to set something in place that will be something to commemorate and celebrate Michael’s legacy,” Johnson said.
Johnson expects roughly 5,000 people a day at the festival, including people from China, Brazil and Canada.
The festival will conclude Saturday night with a performance by R&B group Mindless Behavior and fireworks.
Happy birthday Michael Jackson. Your legacy will forever live on.
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