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Party on!

Tallgrass Creek’s anniversary celebration is a perfect ‘10’

Created date

January 5th, 2018
After enjoying a tailgate picnic celebrating Tallgrass Creek’s tenth anniversary, community members joined together to form a colorful “10” as a drone overhead snapped photos.

After enjoying a tailgate picnic celebrating Tallgrass Creek’s tenth anniversary, community members joined together to form a colorful “10” as a drone overhead snapped photos.

Tallgrass Creek’s tenth birthday bash was everything an anniversary celebration should be. There were cheerleaders, a tailgate picnic, disc jockey, swing band, campus tours, sky-high anniversary photo, elegant dinner dance, dignitaries offering congratulations, pro football and baseball team mascots, and, of course, birthday cake and champagne. 

No wonder the celebration lasted three days! 

“I knew it was going to be great and these few days exceeded that,” says Conk Buckley, who along with wife Bonnie moved to the Overland Park, Kans., Erickson Living community in 2014. 

Let the good times roll   

The celebration began on a crisp, sunny morning as community members boarded decorated golf carts every half hour for 30-minute tours winding around Tallgrass Creek’s 65-acre campus.  

As the day heated up, so did the fun. Lunchtime found Tallgrass Creek neighbors spilling out onto the tented parking lot for hamburgers and hot dogs, coleslaw, potato salad, corn on the cob, brownies, iced tea, and cold beer. Residents dressed for the occasion wearing their favorite sports apparel along with nametags noting the year they moved to Tallgrass Creek.  

A disc jockey spinning tunes from the ’50s and ’60s kept things lively as Tallgrass Creek neighbors welcomed special guests Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders and mascot KC Wolfe. “Sluggerrr,” the lovable lion always on the field with the Kansas City Royals, was also on the scene.    

As cameras clicked, the cheerleaders chatted and posed for pictures while mascots entertained  with their bouncy, comical antics. A local television station was on hand to film some of the entertaining events for the evening news.   

“It’s a beautiful day and great celebration,” says resident Mark Gingrich. “Very indicative of why Tallgrass is a fine place to live.”  

The afternoon wound down as community members gathered on the front lawn forming a huge “10” and waving as a drone overhead photographed the colorful, happy group.

Dining and dancing  

The hoopla continued the next evening as neighbors dressed to the nines and enjoyed cocktails in Tallgrass Creek’s spacious living room while soft music provided by a local pianist and harpist played in the background.   

Then it was on to dinner in the Blue Sky Restaurant bedecked with light blue and ivory balloons and stunning hydrangea table arrangements. Atop each plate was a ribbon-bound pack of notecards depicting scenes around the Tallgrass Creek campus. The cards were printed from original works created by Tallgrass Creek artists Flossie Shattuck, George Lund, and photographer Lila Martin. 

The special dinner menu included choices of shrimp cocktail, green salad or butternut squash bisque, followed by more choices of broiled lobster, filet mignon, and carved roast turkey or ham. The mouthwatering entrees were paired with fresh asparagus, green beans, and creamy mashed potatoes. 

Dinner was topped off with either tiramisu served with vanilla bean ice cream or cheesecake  with whipped cream and strawberries. 

After dinner, residents strolled over to the Sunflower Bistro where the bar was open and the dance floor beckoned. The KC Swing Band played everyone’s favorite tunes, and soon the place was hopping as residents danced well into the evening.   

“It was quite a party,” says Jim Neihart, who recently moved to Tallgrass Creek. “The dinner was delicious and I danced every dance.” 

Ten years young!

Day three included the distribution of a special anniversary memento for all, A History and Story of Tallgrass Creek. The publication was written by members of Tallgrass Creek’s Writing Club and is an overview of the community’s founding, financial structure, organization, and resident histories. 

Later in the day, Tallgrass Creek neighbors gathered in the Blue Sky Restaurant as Executive Director Jean Landreville and corporate guests from Baltimore, Md.-based Erickson Living, which owns and manages Tallgrass Creek, lauded the community’s growth and achievement. 

Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach added his congratulations with a special shoutout to his parents Jean and George Gerlach, who live at Tallgrass Creek. 

The afternoon’s agenda included celebration videos, remembrances and recognitions, a performance by the Tallgrass Creek Chorale, and a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” led by the Ukulele Club. Then came cake, champagne, and punch—a fitting end to an over-the-top birthday/anniversary party.   

The force behind the three-day activities? Tallgrass Creek’s Anniversary Planning Committee: residents Conk Buckley, Georgia Erickson, Max Evans, Phyllis Jordan, Bill Shurtleff, Joan Smith, Lorie Stapp, Nancy Yates, Judy and Terry Turner, and Resident Life Manager Jan Magee.

“I can’t say enough about the enthusiasm, creativity, and just downright fun the residents brought to the table,” says Magee. “They planned a perfect celebration.”