Like an old Western boomtown, the makeshift village that sprang up around the gates of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch was vanishing on Friday, with visitors and vendors packing up tents, tarps, posters and CDs. The dwindling fans were replaced by curious tourists spending the holiday weekend in nearby scenic towns.
A steady stream of weekenders drove up to the estate and took pictures or added their names to memorial poster boards. A Jackson impersonator with a white glove and shiny jacket danced for onlookers.
In deference to the pop star and his family, no events would occur at Neverland until after Tuesday's public memorial service in Los Angeles, according to a statement from Colony Capital LLC, which took control of Neverland in a venture with Jackson after he nearly lost the estate to foreclosure.
With the party over, several of those peddling T-shirts, bottled water and flowers said they would be off to Los Angeles by the end of the day. Others were simply heading home.
"We've got to get back to work," said Jason Osborne of Santa Maria. He had designed shirts with a friend that contained an image of Jackson and the words, "I Paid My Respects at Neverland."