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Entertaining Traditions Thrive at Oak Crest

December 13, 2019

Parkville, Maryland—With two big parties to host and a busy schedule to consider, Evelyn Bradley knew right where to turn.

The resident of Oak Crest, the senior living community developed and managed by Erickson Living, called on-site Catering Manager Andrew Kleinschmidt.

"For those of us involved in activities on and off campus, being able to take advantage of catering services for personal entertaining is an added bonus to living at Oak Crest," stated Evelyn.

This fall, Evelyn and her husband, Fred Gilkey, continued two long-standing traditions in the comfort of their apartment home.  In October, the couple hosted a close-knit group of Fred's professional colleagues, annual time spent catching up over a good meal.

"Andrew and his team worked with us on the dinner menu.  We served a delicious salmon and chicken cordon bleu with roasted veggies for the entrée along with desserts from special recipes we discussed," recalled Evelyn.

Then, the couple hosted what Fred's family describes as "Thanks-Christmas," a tradition dating back decades in which relatives dine together on Black Friday.  "The Oak Crest caterers prepared a full-course Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.  It was wonderful and convenient," said Evelyn.

Full-Service Catering

With more than 17 years of experience at Oak Crest, Mr. Kleinschmidt leads a catering team that provides "a one-stop shopping experience" for residents looking to throw a party or host an event.

"In advance, we meet with the resident to listen to their vision for the occasion, and then we provide planning advice and create the menu based on their feedback," said Mr. Kleinschmidt.  "On the day of the event, our team will prepare the meal, set-up the venue, serve the meals and clean."

Oak Crest has plenty of versatile, thoughtfully designed spaces to host special events.  Venues include private dining rooms, the Garden Room, Erickson Hall, classrooms, restaurants and pubs.  Another option is very popular: hosting parties in resident apartment homes.

"People like to showcase their holiday decorations and decor, particularly newer residents," noted Mr. Kleinschmidt.  "We offer the same full-service in apartment homes as we do in other venues.  Either way, our team takes delight in seeing an event come to life as families and friends enjoy their time together without having to worry about the work."

A Family Tradition Thrives

Benita Summers moved to Oak Crest in 2004 with her husband.  The retired operating room nurse from Towson raised six children, enjoying all the blessings of a large, close family.

For years, they gathered at The Johns Hopkins Club for special occasions; now, it's the Garden Room at Oak Crest for a time-honored tradition.

"Each year on December 23, we come together for a family Christmas party.  That's always been the date to accommodate many schedules," said Benita.  "I'm happy to say that we haven't missed a beat at Oak Crest.  The Garden Room is nicely decorated, and we're able to bring our own center pieces."

Chef Guy Fieri once explained that food is about "the experience."  It rings true for Benita's family celebration.

"Andrew and his team do a very nice job of creating a fresh presentation to meals," described Benita.  "Our holiday menu includes hors d'oeuvres, surf and turf and dessert."

While the venue has changed, cherished memories carry forth.

"This year, we'll have more 30 family members in attendance," stated Benita.  "We're thankful to the Lord that we're enabled to share love and friendship at Oak Crest." 

An Array of December Activities

From a full schedule of church services in the Chapel to concerts from popular performers like the Maryland State Boychoir and our very own Oak Crest Concert Chorus, there is plenty to do to capture the spirit of the holiday season.  Residents can scroll through the daily schedule from their phone or computer on the MyErickson app.

"One of the great benefits of the community is maintaining a robust calendar of special activities and creating attractive spaces to accommodate them," said Mark Roussey, Executive Director.  "The lifestyle people enjoy at Oak Crest is full of exciting opportunities to engage with friends and family."

About Oak Crest: Oak Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 87-acre campus in Parkville, Maryland.  The not-for-profit community of more than 2,100 residents and 1,250 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of Oak Crest.  Additional information can be found at