More than 300 fans joined Tom Petty’s family to rename a Florida park after the iconic rocker. The crowd celebrated what would have been Petty’s 68th birthday and his music by renaming the former Northeast Park in Gainsville, Florida as Tom Petty Park.
Petty was born in Gainesville October 20, 1950 and lived in the small city until be leaving for Los Angeles to make it big in the music business. According to the Independent Florida Alligator, the park had been a frequent hangout spot for Petty and his younger brother, Bruce Petty, in the 70’s.
“My brother and I grew up in this park. We played as kids. My cousin reminded me the other day of my remark that it was a sanctuary, and it really was,” Bruce Petty said. “It was a place for us to escape and be kids and have fun. The fact that we are doing this today and the part that we played in it makes it so much more special.”
Hundreds of Tom Petty Nation! fan club members traveled to Gainsville for the weekend to make a deeper appreciation for his music. They visited spots associated with him or mentioned in his music including bars, music venues, the University of Florida and other locations.