GARY, Ind. — 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.

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.

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.

Paris and Prince Michael didn't speak during the brief presentation. Later, in the moments before the vigil was to start, the two, joined by Jackson's other child, Prince Michael II, signed autographs outside the Jackson home. A large crowd formed around them, with fans shoving books and posters in the teens' faces.

Jackson's sister LaToya told the crowd the family's musical fame started in the city, east of Chicago, and in "this little house." After saying, "We all love you, Michael," LaToya folded her hands and looked to the sky.

Rainbow/PUSH Coalition leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson showed up at the tribute, stopping in the crowd before the vigil to pose for a photo with a Michael Jackson impersonator.

Jackson later said he thanked God for Michael Jackson and led the crowd in chanting, "Long live Michael!"

Michael Jackson spent the first 11 years of his life in Gary. The family moved out of the city known for its steel mills after the Jackson 5 struck it big in 1969 with the release of their first album.

Aside from two concerts the Jackson 5 played at West Side High School in 1971, the only time the singer returned to his hometown was in 2003, when plans for a Michael Jackson Performing Arts Center in the city's downtown were announced. It was never built.

"Gary, you are family, you always will be, I love you," Jackson said at the time.

Last week, a Los Angeles judge appointed the pop star's nephew, TJ Jackson, to share guardianship responsibilities for the late singer's three children with family matriarch Katherine Jackson. TJ Jackson was appointed a temporary guardian last month when Katherine Jackson was incommunicado during a stay at an Arizona spa with relatives.

Other family members have said Katherine Jackson was being improperly influenced regarding custody arrangements for the children, but her attorney disputed those claims.

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  • Autographed original Jackson 5 albums sit on display on the stairs of a home near Michael 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)

  • Michael Jackson

    An umbrella with many faces of Michael Jackson and a balloon are aloft outside Jackson's boyhood home during a celebration on what would have been Jackson's 54th birthday, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Gary, Ind. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Michael Jackson

    Fans of entertainer Michael Jackson sing under candlelight outside the Jackson's childhood home to celebrate what would have been Michael Jackson's 54th birthday Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Gary, Ind. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

  • Michael Jackson, LaToya Jackson

    LaToya Jackson waves to the crowd as they gather outside the Jackson's childhood home to celebrate what would have been Michael Jackson's 54th birthday, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Gary, Ind. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

  • Paris Jackson,

    Paris Jackson, daughter of entertainer Michael Jackson, receives a poster of her family from a fan outside Jackson's boyhood home during a celebration on what would have been Jackson's 54th birthday, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Gary, Ind. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Paris Jackson, Prince Jackson,

    Prince, left, and Paris Jackson, children of the late pop icon Michael Jackson, pose for photographers after an appearance at a Jackson tribute event 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)

  • Paris Jackson, Prince Jackson,

    Prince Jackson, son of the late pop icon Michael Jackson, looks at a pin given to him by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson at a Jackson tribute event 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)

  • Paris Jackson, Prince Jackson,

    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)

  • Blanket Jackson

    Security guards surround Blanket Jackson, bottom center, daughter of entertainer Michael Jackson, tells the crowd to get back outside Jackson's boyhood home during a celebration on what would have been Jackson's 54th birthday, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Gary, Ind. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

  • Jesse Jackson, Michael Jackson

    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)

  • Michael Jackson

    Michael Jackson fans wait to get autographs from his three children Prince, Paris, and Blanket, outside Jackson's boyhood home during a celebration on what would have been Jackson's 54th birthday, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Gary, Ind. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Paris Jackson, Prince Jackson,

    Prince, left, and Paris Jackson, children of the late pop icon Michael Jackson, pose for photographers after an appearance at a Jackson tribute event 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)

  • Katherine Jackson

    FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2011 file photo, Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson's mother, leaves court after a hearing for Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, in Los Angeles. Jackson on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 announced she will spend what would have been her son Michael's 54th birthday in the family's hometown of Gary, Ind., which is planning a candlelight vigil, concert and other events to honor the pop superstar and his mother. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)