DUNEDIN — Lari White, Dunedin-born singer-songwriter, actor and music producer who died recently from cancer at age 52, dreamed of someday returning to her hometown to create a music festival spotlighting aspiring, "starving musicians."
City commissioners recently voted to help White posthumously realize that dream by officially naming the covered gazebo along the Pinellas Trail, referred to as "the slab," as the Lari White Music Pavilion.
Commissioner Maureen Freaney said "Lari White Music Pavilion could become a special spot for musicians and provide a place for budding musicians to play."
Freaney remembered how gracious and friendly White was performing during the city’s centennial celebration, even after the first day got rained out.
Commissioner Deborah Kynes said, "My hope is that it’s not only used for special events, but that you will see free-play musicians. Maybe, someone starting off as a Lari White can share that talent with people on the trail."
Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski, who grew up with White, rode a bicycle with her to middle school and was a fellow Dunedin High graduate of 1983, said "she was a really sweet lady, a mother hen. She always came back to Dunedin at least once or twice a year. Whenever she came back she did a lot of free concerts."
Once the naming is approved, her classmates plan to raise funds and install a plaque alongside the pavilion, "so visitors can understand who she was and what she meant to Dunedin," Bujalski said.
In addition, Dunedin Historical Society director Vinny Luisi will work with the Class of 1983 to create an exhibit at the museum, Bujalski added.