Published: Jun 25, 2010 11:20 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 25, 2010 8:21 AM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) - As the first anniversary of Michael Jackson's

death drew near, Julia Thomas clutched her "Thriller" liner notes

and stood outside the Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, Calif., the

final resting place for the King of Pop, with about two dozen other


"Michael has just always been a part of my life," the

40-year-old Thomas, who has a tattoo of Jackson's dancing feet on

her left wrist, said Thursday night. "I'm just hoping to embrace

the fans from everywhere."

Barricades were already set up at the Los Angeles-area cemetery

for the huge throng of fans and some of Jackson's family members

expected to arrive on Friday, which marks a year since Jackson died

at age 50. Five large wreaths of flowers and dozens of bouquets,

drawings and photos of Jackson had been placed outside his private


Evdokia Sofianou, 46, and her 9-year-old daughter, Rebecca,

traveled from Athens, Greece, to pay their respects.

"I came because I love Michael very much," Sofianou said. "I

came to grieve."

Forest Lawn was to be just one of the many places around the

world where Jackson's fans would gather to remember their fallen

legend on Friday. But not everyone planned to be grieving.

On Friday, DJ Jon Quick was to spin Jackson tunes at the club

Taj in Manhattan for a festive affair.

"They wanna celebrate his life and music," Quick said of the

expected partygoers. "His albums are like timelines in your life.

You can remember what you were doing ... when 'Thriller' came


Some anniversary events began even before Friday. In London, a

memorial was unveiled Thursday to a gaggle of press who packed the

foyer of the Lyric Theatre, the site of an impromptu wake following

the pop superstar's death last year.

Perri Luc Kiely, 14, a member of the dance troupe Diversity,

pulled back a pair of dark purple curtains to reveal a small plaque

featuring a young Jackson with a wide, beaming smile.

In Hong Kong, Jackson imitators performed to the late singer's

classics at a suburban mall Thursday. Four-year-old Wang Yiming

danced to "Dangerous" wearing Jackson's trademark black fedora

hat, a black suit with a silver armband and white socks.

In Gary, Ind., Jackson's hometown, there was to be a tribute at

the family home; city officials said they expected Jackson's

mother, Katherine Jackson, and his niece Genevieve Jackson to show

up, along with thousands of others.

But his brother Randy Jackson was hoping to make the official

family commemoration at Forest Lawn on Friday morning.

"My family and I will be in attendance as we mourn the loss of

my brother," he said in a statement Thursday. "I would like to

thank the fans and friends for their continued love, support and


Katherine Jackson has thrown her support behind a "Forever

Michael" fan event to be held Saturday at the Beverly Hilton hotel

in Los Angeles. Tickets range from $150 to $500.

The Apollo Theater in Harlem, where a young Michael Jackson and

his brothers won amateur night, on Friday was to host a

commemoration of Jackson's life in front of the recently installed

plaque honoring him in the legendary theater's new hall of fame.

And later in the afternoon in Harlem, around the hour of

Jackson's death, the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action

Network were to hold a moment of silence.

Sharpton, a longtime associate of Jackson and his family, gave

impassioned remarks at Jackson's televised memorial last July and

said he thought a moment of silence was appropriate to show "the

sanctity of the hour."

"He meant a lot to us of all races in terms of bringing us

together in another kind of spirit," Sharpton said. "I wanted to

make sure that we showed that in the middle of all this that is

going on in the world that Michael is someone that we would all

stop for ... . He was more than just a singer, he was a social

force and a sense of inspiration."