The joy of entertaining at Tallgrass Creek

October 30, 2019

Robust amenities, clubs and activities enhance seniors' lifestyle at Overland Park community

Overland Park, Kans. – October 30, 2019 – When Bonnie and Pat Whalen moved to Tallgrass Creek, a distinctive senior living community developed and managed by Erickson Living in Overland Park, Kansas, they had a nice surprise.

"We moved in December and soon after, we were invited to the annual New Year's Eve dinner dance," says Bonnie. "It was such a fun evening."

The couple met their new neighbors over "a delicious steak and lobster dinner" and then danced the night away to the tunes of local band "Cool Breeze."  

Bonnie notes there are many celebrations and unique activities at Tallgrass Creek which the couple didn't expect.

"It makes living here even more special," says Bonnie.

Easy entertaining

The Blue Sky Restaurant at Tallgrass Creek is home to many of those celebrations. During the holiday season, community members invite their families and friends to share the sumptuous end-of-year holiday meals which, as one resident notes, "are feasts to behold".

Throughout the year, community members enjoy special themed dinners such as an Oktoberfest celebration with a German-inspired menu; fall tailgate barbecue with ribs and traditional sides; Louisiana-inspired shrimp boil; Mexican fiesta; Hawaiian luau, and more.

"We decorate the dining room and offer special cocktails to go along with the theme," says Restaurant Manager Megan Sova. "These are fun evenings in the dining room for all of us."

The dining staff also works with residents to prepare and cater special meals for their personal guests in the private dining room or other spaces. Janet and Bob Butterworth hosted a dinner for 25 of their former neighbors who all now live at Tallgrass Creek. The group gathered in the Sunflower Room for conversation and cocktails followed by dinner served by Tallgrass Creek's dining staff.

"The food and service were excellent," says Bob. "It was a great way to catch up and enjoy each other one on one."

Neighbors entertaining neighbors

Whether it's a wine tasting in the hall or a party "just because," neighbors like Barbara Stark enjoy entertaining one another.

Barbara has always loved entertaining and continues to do so with her second floor neighbors in Hummingbird Square, one of Tallgrass Creek's five independent living residence buildings.  

"I'm kind of the CEO of entertainment for our floor," laughs Barbara. "But everyone pitches in to help."

Barbara and her neighbors have enjoyed a Kentucky Derby party, Valentine's Day celebration, an apartment crawl, and coming up in November, a birthday party "for anyone who has a birthday in 2019."

Tallgrass Creek staff set up tables and chairs at each end of the hall and residents bring an appetizer to share, along with their own beverage.

"Having fun with your neighbors is wonderful no matter what age you are," says Barbara. "We always have a great time together."

Toe-tapping entertainment  

Tallgrass Creek boasts more than 70 resident-driven committees that coordinate frequent nature outings, interesting trips, daily fitness classes, learning opportunities, and numerous social activities.  

The entertainment committee is coordinated by Karen Keenan, who acts as talent scout for the lively entertainment the committee books.

"There's a lot of talent out there, so we read reviews and listen to demo tapes online," say Karen. "We try to have outside entertainment every month."

Entertainers include vocalists as well as jazz, classical guitar, ukulele, violin, and piano performers. Karen and her committee are currently booking entertainment into 2020.

Tallgrass Creek's resident life team adds to the action by hosting fashion, craft, and talent shows; ice cream socials; walk-a-thons; fitness competitions; chili cook-offs between staff members; poolside gatherings; and weekly happy hours where the bar is open, the dance floor beckons, and the tunes are plentiful.

This summer, the community hosted a series of four outdoor concerts in Tallgrass Creek's grassy courtyard. Neighbors gathered under the shady pergola bordering the courtyard and enjoyed a variety of musicians performing Dixieland, jazz, country, patriotic, and classic rock tunes.

"One of the reasons Tallgrass Creek is so special is that, for those interested, the community offers diverse entertainment opportunities and spaces for special celebrations with family and friends," says Resident Life Manager Jan Magee.

As the holiday season approaches, Tallgrass Creek neighbors are currently working with the management team to plan this year's New Year's Eve party. The popular dance band from last year is already scheduled and the menu will again be special.

"It will be a very full house with great food and lots of dancing," says Magee. "New Year's Eve at Tallgrass is special."

About Tallgrass Creek: Tallgrass Creek, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 65-acre campus in Overland Park, Kansas. The not-for-profit community of more than 500 residents and 350 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information can be found at

Photo Caption: Tallgrass Creek neighbors (left to right) Anne Broshar, Eileen Swearingen, Marcella Miller, Nancy Davis, and Carole Pugsley show off their Kentucky Derby hats at a neighborly gathering celebrating the famous horse race. The neighbors all live on the second floor of Hummingbird Square, one of Tallgrass Creek's modern residence buildings, and socialize frequently.

Photo Credit: Barbara Stark