Oak Park hosts 'Be Like Betty' celebration to honor hometown native Betty White on her birthday

OAK PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- There aren't many parties that can top the celebration of Betty White's life.

"Betty is something someone different and we feel like everyone wants to celebrate her everyone wants to be like Betty," said Oak Park resident, Lourdes Nicholls.

It was a shock for many to see White pass away on New Year's Eve, just about two weeks before she turned 100, but her hometown of Oak Park knew the party had to go on.

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"I thought of a Betty White quote that I heard long ago that she said, 'You can't become a professional mourner.' And with that, I thought we are still moving forward, and it's gonna be great," Nicholls said.

The celebration of life will start at 10 a.m. Saturday with several guest speakers and special events from the local shops in downtown.

Some are offering pet adoptions, while others are brewing up a special latte in the late actress and comedian's honor.

"Well, it's from her character, her show: Rose. So we definitely want to do something with that," said Shivangi Khetarpal, owner of Wise Cup. "It is very exciting. We love to be part of the community, our entire staff is from the area."

It's no surprise Betty White is getting such a special celebration. Many people in Oak Park idolize her and this weekend, we'll see this downtown area taken over by people of White's hometown, along with some of the things she loved the most.

"Red Vines are Betty's favorite dessert and Red Vines has donated some boxes at the event," Nicholls said.

MORE: Betty White shared her secret to happiness just before her death
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Betty White's secret to longevity? The beloved actress, who is just weeks away from turning 100 years young, joked that she tries "to avoid anything green" in her diet.



There will also be several cardboard cutouts of White along downtown, as well as 100 slices of cake with her face on it.

Her hometown isn't quite sure what to expect for the event, but are excited for the celebration.

"In the beginning, I'm like, will five people come? And now it feels like maybe 5,000 -- I don't know. But we are ready," Nicholls said.

She would have turned 100 years old on Jan. 17.
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