Saturday, August 27, 2011

Paris Prince and Blanket Jackson Celebrates Dads Birthday in Gary.

Michael Jackson’s kids visit with Gary crowd

GARY — While the opening day of three-day birthday celebration of the late Michael Jackson was off to a slow start, the King of Pop’s three children — Prince, 14, Paris, 13, and 9-year-old Prince Michael II, also known as “Blanket,” took a short walk Friday from their father’s childhood home at 2300 Jackson St., to Garnett Elementary where their father and some of his siblings attended school decades ago.

Michael Jackson’s birthday is Monday.

“It’s closed now and I think it belongs to Workforce Development,” Michael’s first cousin Keith Jackson said as he led the brief tour for the children and a group of bodyguards and members of the Gary police department

Prince happy to greet fans outside 2300 Jackson St.

The children posed for pictures in front of Garnett while giggling and talking among themselves with another young relative. Keith also pointed out Roosevelt High School where the older aunts and uncles attended before they became known as the iconic Jackson 5.

“The kids are having a great time here,” Keith said as they returned to the gated house.

Moments after being in the backyard near a private, luxury bus, Prince and Paris then made their way to the gated fence and shook hands, posed for pictures and signed autographs for a small group of fans lucky enough to be up close.

Beth Shadera of Lake Station was able to present Paris with a necklace and also walked away with signatures from the children on a poster of their father as a child.

“I came here not expecting to have the honor of meeting Michael’s children. They are so beautiful,” Shadera said.

As the evening progressed, the crowd grew larger with more than 200 people dancing and watching performances on a stage near the house — called The Legend’s Stage — and Joe and Katherine Jackson, Michael’s parents, made their way outside to enjoy some of the show from the front yard.

Katherine watched performers from Chicago as well as the Gary dance group, Kruciial Kreationz, founded by promoter and Jackson family friend Ivan “Primetime” Woodard. Katherine also signed T-shirts, pictures and books with her son’s image for some fans.

She said seeing the community and fans from everywhere honoring her son ‘makes her choke up’ from the love.

“This is great, beautiful,” she said, adding that she will likely be here until Sunday. “The children’s first day of school is Monday, so they have to go back.”

She said she showed her grandchildren the entire house and where their father use to sleep and practice inside.

“They are so excited about seeing where their father grew up,” Katherine said. “Paris told me, ‘Grandma, I love it here.”

By Lisa DeNeal Post-Tribune correspondent
August 26, 2011 9:42PM

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