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EVENT REPORT

Flash Mob Shuts Down Church Street for Michael Jackson Tribute Fund-Raiser

Church Street Station in downtown Orlando turned into a scene from a music video on June 25, when 100 Michael Jackson fans staged a flash mob in honor of the King of Pop on the anniversary of his death. The event also served as a fund-raiser for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida.

“We wanted to pay tribute to his choreography and the music but also what he was most passionate about in this life, which was those in need and particularly children,” said event creator Christina Van Zuidam, who added that Jackson donated the money from sales of his 1988 single of “Man in the Mirror” to a Ronald McDonald House Charities’ California chapter.

To shut down the street for the nine-minute event, Van Zuidam secured prior approval from TSLF Church Street Retail, the shopping and dining area's retailers association, which has a permanent permit from the city to close the street for private events at any time—though a $5 million insurance policy purchase was required.

The dancers, many of whom are professional dancers at Walt Disney World, began rehearsing in mid-May to learn a choreographed routine combining Jackson’s iconic songs like “Black or White” and “Man in the Mirror”. Event staffers recorded the performance, which attracted about 150 spectators, and made a video of the day that Van Zuidam later broadcast on the event’s Web site, where the text-to-donate code appears.

Throughout the stunt, certain participants held signs with the phone number and text code to donate to the charity. Since the recording, the video has been sent out virally to Michael Jackson fan sites and message boards to continue the fund-raising effort for the charity. The campaign will continue through the end of summer.


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