Like a real-life Willy Wonka, Michael Jackson has announced plans to open his carnival-style Neverland Ranch estate to 500 guests. The invitation-only event, set for Sept. 13, is a one-time-only gathe

Like a real-life Willy Wonka, Michael Jackson has announced plans to open his carnival-style Neverland Ranch estate to 500 guests. The invitation-only event, set for Sept. 13, is a one-time-only gathering, complete with dinner, magicians, games and a tractor-trailer full of stuffed animals, according to Jackson's spokesperson.

Tickets for two cost $5,000, with $1,000 from each sale being divided among three charities. Jackson will keep the rest -- his spokesperson said it would pay for costs of the party.

Jackson's Neverland Ranch, in Santa Barbara County, Calif., includes an amusement park with bumper cars, a merry-go-round and a Ferris wheel. Guests also will receive a "goodie bag" worth about $1,000 and an original painting by Brazilian artist Romero Britto.

The spokesperson said 250 tickets will go on sale, potentially worth $1.25 million. The maximum $250,000 charitable donation will be split between the Make-A-Wish Foundation for sick children; Oneness, dedicated to erasing racism through art and music; and E Ai Como E Que Fica, a Rio de Janeiro group that provides food, clothing and medical care to impoverished children.

Jackson's former financial advisers settled a lawsuit against him in June that suggested he was overburdened with debt and near bankruptcy. That has led to speculation that the Neverland property, recently assessed at $12.3 million, would go on the market.


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