Betty White Day celebrations are ready to begin this weekend in the treasured comedian’s Chicago suburban hometown of Oak Park.
In front of Oak Park’s historic Lake Theater, fans of the late actress can gather at 10 a.m. Saturday, just days before what would have been White’s 100th birthday on Jan. 17.
Though White’s family moved from Oak Park to Los Angeles within two years of her birth, she had relatives outside Chicago until the 1960s.
Here’s what to know about this weekend’s celebrations:
Honoring White, the Wednesday Journal Newspaper said they plan to publish a special 24-page pull-out section this weekend.
“I’ve always loved Betty mostly because of her animal rights activism, as well as keeping me laughing,” said Lourdes Nicholls of Wednesday Journal Newspaper.
There will also be a guest singer Saturday amid the celebrations.
Cindy Fee, the woman who sang the theme song for the “Golden Girls,” arguably White’s biggest hit show, happens to live in Oak Park and is set to perform at the event.
Across the street from the theater, there will be a special adoption event in White’s name, with several other business participating. At Wise Cup, the owners are creating a unique coffee drink called the “Betty White Mocha.”
“We just love the idea it’s for Betty and we want to do something special for her,” said Wise Cup owners Shivangi and Naveen Khetarpal. “We know that Betty White was a beloved native of Oak Park and wanted to be able to celebrate her life with the rest of our community.”
Tre Sorelle, an Italian restaurant in Oak Park, will be serving a Betty White martini this weekend, which was allegedly one of her favorite drinks.
“I kind of grew up with Betty White and it was such a pleasure to watch her for all of my years that I think that was the very least I could do is have a cocktail in her name on her birthday,” said Tre Sorelle owner Albert Mancini.
At Sugar Fixe Patisserie in downtown Oak Park, bakers are whipping up limited edition “Stay Golden” cookies with White’s face atop the frosting. The bakery is hand-making all cookies, so any large orders should be placed in advance.
Over at Mickey’s Gyros and Ribs, workers are doing a hot dog and fry special, as it was widely known White was a big fan of plain hot dogs.
“She gave everybody smiles on their faces, she loved animals she loved people she loved life,” George Vergados, Mickey’s Gyros and Ribs, said. “We want to celebrate, the world needs that right now.”