By Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
The US village of Oak Park will hold its first Betty White Day to honour the late actress and celebrate her 100th birthday.
Businesses in screen veteran’s Illinois hometown, some nine miles west of downtown Chicago, will pay tribute to White by serving her favourite foods and promoting her passion of animal adoption.
The award-winning actress died on New Year’s Eve aged 99, less than a month before her landmark birthday on January 17th.
The event will take place on Saturday January 15th so as not to clash with US holiday Martin Luther King Day.
Organiser Lourdes Nicholls said cardboard cut-outs of White would line the main street of Oak Park and a large turnout was expected.
Village president Vicki Scaman will make a proclamation and the executive director of the local historical society will give a talk about the area as it was 100 years ago when White was born.
The event will also feature special guest singer Cindy Fee, who sang the theme tune to the 1980s sitcom Golden Girls in which White played Rose Nylund.
Ms Fee, who also lives in Oak Park, will perform a rendition of the song, Thank You For Being A Friend, in honour of the screen veteran.
Other businesses will pay tribute to White and her lengthy career in their own way.
Local eatery Mickey’s will serve the “Betty White Special”, consisting of a plain hotdog, French fries and a diet coke – reportedly the singer’s favourite meal.
Turano Bakery will provide a large cake for the ceremony and animal charities will be promoting adoptions due to White’s love of animals.
“We were planning this party for Betty’s 100th birthday anyway but after her death we changed it, so we are still celebrating her,” Ms Nicholls told the PA news agency.
“Before she passed she knew about this party.
“We’re just doing the things that Betty loved and encouraging businesses to have fun and participate.
While watching the news last night I learned of Betty White’s passing. Betty will live forever not only in this world but the world here after. I will always love her as we all will!
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) January 1, 2022
“We want everyone to participate and come together to celebrate her life.”
White appeared in other hit US sitcoms including Hot In Cleveland, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Betty White Show and Life With Elizabeth during a career spanning more than 80 years.
Her death has been met by an outpouring of grief and memories from famous faces including Dolly Parton, Michelle Obama and Ryan Reynolds.