In August 1999 Donna Green, and Rebecca Reza had an idea to form a local Michael Jackson Fan group here in Los Angeles, California. Our idea stemmed from the lack of MJ related fan events and support here in the USA. MJNI had MJ Day USA, which was really great, but unfortunately, like other events, it didn't last. Yet another event for the USA canceled. Then, to make things worse, MJOIFC had just announced that they were possibly taking Michaelfest to London the following year. Great, but what are the USA fans going to do now? Rebecca and I decided to take things into our own hands. I came up with a simple idea...to have a small group of fans in the Los Angeles area to simply hang out once a month to share our common love for Michael. We would have events every month, even if it was just going out to eat or just to get together. Little did we know the success that would come from one small idea. The King of Pop Fanatics was founded on August 31, 1999.
It started as a small group of die hard MJ fans in Los Angeles. The fans loved the easy going, laid back atmosphere of the parties. Every month we did something different. Unfortunately, since Rebecca lives in Texas, she couldn't make it out to all the events so she started the King of Pop Fanatics Texas group. Rebecca later handed the group over to Darvon (a fan in Dallas), while she became my official assistant for the LA group. We had so much success with the groups we decided to take it nationwide in June of 2000. In just 3 months we now have 8 groups across the US. We are now called "The King Of Pop Fanatics United States Fan Groups"! It's still a brand new organization, but with the help of many dedicated fans it's coming together with much success. We currently have KoP Fanatics groups in Los Angeles, New York City, Dallas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Seattle, and a brand new group forming in Detroit! Our focus, of course, is to show Michael that his USA fans still and will always LOVE him!! Like we our group motto says, "Don't just say you're a fan, get out there and show it!"
This August, along with Michaels 42nd birthday, was our first anniversary of the King Of Pop Fanatics. We ended up combining the 2 and celebrated 42 years of Michaelmania near Neverland Valley on August 26, 2000. The drive up to Neverland is sooo beautiful!! For the first 2 hours you drive practically on the beach, then the second half is through the gorgeous Santa Ynez Mountains! We must say Michael has good taste (like we didn't realize that already)!!
The land is soo beautiful!! When you're there you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. We can see why he calls it Neverland Valley! All you hear are the wonderful sounds of nature. It's sooo peaceful and relaxing! Due to a few small problems with our rental cars, and mix ups at the airport, we were a bit late getting in Friday night. I think we got about 4 hours sleep at the most! You couldn't tell the next morning though because everyone was so cheerful and excited for the day. We had members of the New York City & Texas KoP Fanatics groups come and join us. For most of them it would be their first time to the gates. It was sooo great seeing everyone! To give everyone a chance to get aquainted with one another, we met for breakfast at Baker's Square (a local restaurant) in Buellton. Let us take this time to thank Lorraine (our waitress), the poor thing had to put up with us 3 days in a row! *LOL* She was really sweet, and a great waitress! Thanks Lorraine! We quickly finished up and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the party and Neverland!
Donna, Rebecca, and a few other dedicated members of the LA group got together and bought Michael a really cute Winnie the Pooh Bear for his birthday, which Donna dressed up like Michael! Pooh was holding a birthday card as well as balloons for the birthday boy. Isn't he cute?? While Donna & Rebecca got the decorations ready to take to the dinner party, everyone outside got busy signing our birthday card for Michael. As you all may know our LA group had signed a card for Michael in November '99. Fortunately to our surprise he actually received the card and called Donna and her family personally to thank all of us! It worked once, why not again? We had everyone sign a posterboard which had the King of Pop Fanatics logo in the middle and a bunch of group pictures surrounding it. We quickly loaded the decorations, cake and balloons in the cars and headed out to Neverland!! It was sooo fun driving through the town blasting our MJ music, honking our horns, and flashing our lights (hope we didn't embarress you too bad Guy! *LOL*) It was a bit tricky with a caravan of 8 cars but finally 15 minutes later we were there .......at the gates of Neverland!!!
Thankfully it was a nice, sunny day. Usually there are a bunch of cars coming in and out, mainly just workers, but luckily that day it was very quiet. We quickly got the cake out along with our gifts to give to Michael. We rushed a bit so that the cake wouldn't melt. Everyone was quite impressed by the cake, hopefully Michael liked it. We were impressed with all the gifts that everyone brought. The guards were a bit jumpy that day, who knows why? Perhaps their "boss" was home? *LOL* We weren't allowed to stay too long at the gates (the guards seemed to be getting a bit nervous by our presence) but we managed to get a few important things in before we left. We chanted a short "Happy Birthday Michael! We love you!" followed by, "King of Pop!" Of course, the guards thought we were all crazy, but that's okay (like we don't know that already? *LOL*) The guards were kind enough to open the gates and take the cake, along with the gifts we left. After a few group pictures with the card and some of Donna's banners we handed the card to the guards and it was off on its way (hopefully we'll get lucky again this time!). Along with the card and the gifts we had a little surprise for Michael.
A special group of dedicated members were picked from the LA group. All of the members who had been to most of the events, along with Donna and myself, got together and came up with a T-shirt idea. Each person had a letter, all together it spelled "USA LUVS MJJ" and the back said, "KING OF POP!" We wore these shirts under our group shirts so it would look like we were about to flash him as we lifted them up, but instead have the message on a second shirt underneath. I'm not sure if he saw it, but hey, at least the guards did. *LOL* We stayed outside Neverland for a mere hour and a half. Donna (& family), Rebecca and BJ left to begin decorating for the party later that evening.
Our Celebration Party!
The doors opened promptly at 6:00 PM. It was held at our favorite restuarant in Buellton, Federico's. A very good mexican restaurant, and that's hard to find in CA! The room was covered in MJ posters, flags and banners. The staff kept asking if Michael was going to be arriving anytime soon. We hope so!! *LOL* The manager (who knows our group quite well by now) even brought his own VCR and television from home so we could watch our Michael videos! Thank you Nathan!
The evening started off with a Michael Jackson seek and find game. Our main goal was to have participation during the party. We wanted people to feel the energy and excitement of the day so we decided to have various activities. Donna came up with a seek and find, and Rebecca created an MJ word scrambler and "What's that Lyric?" game. We both worked together on a MJ trivia game. BJ Brasier was our MC for the night! You did a GREAT job, BJ! Than you so much! Some of the games turned out to be a bit tricky. We hadn't realized we had made some games a bit hard. These are MJ fans remember, who study every lyric, disect every word that comes out of Michael's mouth. We had to make it hard (sorry guys)! It was so much fun though, we loved the lyric game.
Congratulations to all the winners! Great job!! We gave each winner an 8X10 silver framed picture of Michael. Then for the door prizes Donna made Michael snowglobes!
We also had a special award presentation to the members who had been there supporting us from the begining. These members have gone to every single event the King of Pop Fanatics LA group has had since our begining. Both Donna and Rebecca are very grateful to all of you who have supported our group, and of course Michael! We wanted to show them our appreciation so we came up with certificates that Donna made and framed for every member. In return, without Donna knowing, the members awarded her with a special engraved mirror plaque thanking her for all the hardwork she has done for the group. Below is the list of the members who received an award. Thank you again for your support in making this fan group a success! Thanks so much to each and every one of you!
Outstanding Fanatics Award Winners
Overall the party went really well. Everyone seemed to truly enjoy the festivities. Of course the weekend was only half over. We still had Michael's birthday on Tuesday. So, we quickly cleaned up the room and headed back to the hotel for a quick night's rest to get ready for the drive back home.
Unfortunately, not everyone could continue our celebration with us. We said our good-bye's to Jamie, Rachel, Juliet, Michael, and BJ. Thanks for coming! The rest of us went back to Neverland one last time before we had to leave back to Los Angeles. The guards were much nicer this time around, and let us hang out for a bit. We even managed to pin our birthday banner for Michael on the gates along with the balloons we had saved from the day before (*hee hee*). The guards told us that everything had been sent to the house to Michael. Wonderful!!
Sunday and Monday was spent pretty much relaxing and enjoying each others' company. Finally, on Tuesday we all went to Michael's star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame where we spent all day celebrating his birthday. We put together another card for everyone to sign, including anyone on the Walk of Fame who wanted to send their wishes to Michael. It was sooo much fun, we had our MJ music blasting, along with our flags, and Donna's banners letting everyone know about the big day. Donna had also made flyers to pass out to everyone promoting our group as well as Michael's birthday. We ended up going up and down Hollywood Blvd. posting them on every wall and post available. By the time we were finished everywhere you looked in Hollywood had a flyer. *hee,hee*...
We'd like to take this time to thank each and everyone one of you who came to our very special birthday celebration! We truly had a wonderful time and it was so great to meet old friends, and new friends alike! Both Donna and Rebecca appreciate the undying love and support you have shown to our King Of Pop Fanatics Group, but especially and foremost, to Michael!
As President of the King Of Pop Fanatics U.S. Fan Groups I'd like to give my personal, special thanks to the following people: