The First Annual Traditions of Athens Mystery Dinner Theatre

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

On Wednesday, May 23, Traditions of Athens is going to present us an opportunity to support a wonderful charity in our community, build community themselves, and have a delicious meal as well as a memorable evening, all within the space of about two hours!

For those of you who may not be familiar with the new and inarguably gorgeous senior living community located on Highway 72 and Lindsay Lane in Athens, you need to stop by and let the friendly staff take you on a tour. There is a lovely dining room with a chef, and activities galore-to-explore after you get up from the table with a real tablecloth. If you want to, you can do your own laundry, or if you need to, someone else will do it. Up the Gone-With-The-Wind-style staircase in the foyer, which leads you to the mezzanine, there is a grand piano that I have had the privilege of playing. I can tell you it is a fine instrument! There is a bistro, a library, a custom-chosen framed gallery of old historical photos of Athens, interesting field trips and outings, and most importantly, a staff that genuinely loves the residents. Traditions of Athens recently completed several patio homes which encircle the building, and they are designed for seniors who at this point are completely self-sufficient and independent, but desire the security of a ready-made community. Traditions of Athens invites them to partake of the offered amenities, and looks out for their well-being and security.

Dana Hill is the director of the Athens facility, and during our time together, her eyes were twinkling over what she, the staff, and the residents have planned this year for Athens-Limestone County. “We are doing a mystery dinner theatre with a Roaring ‘20s theme,” she said, “and Frank Travis is the guest celebrity director.” City Councilman Frank Travis has a personal interest in Traditions of Athens because his mother lives there. Dana went on to tell me that the culture amongst the residents is one of active engagement. “Many of our residents were successful professionals, and at our Resident Council meetings they made it very clear that they are not just interested in being ‘retiring’ in a retirement community, no matter how nice it is!”

To that end, they came up with the idea of doing the mystery dinner in order to raise funds for Unsung Heroes via Training Mature Minds. “Unsung Heroes had a gala fundraising dinner which got ‘swallowed up’ by one of the severe storms,” said Dana, “and this will help them get back on track.” Then she added, “And, it will be FUN!”

The residents of Traditions of Athens are not stopping with the Mystery Dinner Theater; they have come up with several things they want to do for us. Beginning tonight, May 4, and every Friday night through the month of May, you can drive up to the circular drive and covered entrance, and be treated to free coffee from Starbuck’s, and freshly baked donuts from K-May’s. What the residents would like you to do is bring peanut butter, jelly, and mac & cheese for summer lunches for local children. Traditions of Athens is partnering with Limestone County Churches Involved (LCCI) and donations will be accepted at Traditions now through May 30. “The residents are lit up about giving back,” Dana told me.

July is going to be School Supplies Month, in September Traditions will host a veterans’ program, in October there will be a coat drive in anticipation of the cold winter months, and in November there will be a toy drive just in time for the holidays. Clearly these residents are “Mature Americans on a Mission!”

With regard to the Mystery Dinner Theatre event itself, there are several things you need to know. First of all, if you are someone who enjoys “getting into character by getting into costume,” you are welcome to come to the dinner dressed as a flapper or in a ‘20s style suit. Dressing up is not required, and every female attendee will be given a hand-made headband, complete with ostrich plume, as well as a string of faux pearls. The headbands have been crafted by the residents as part of their activities time in anticipation of the event. There will be a scrumptious meal with a period-appropriate, signature dessert; and the meal and mystery will occur between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The evening’s festivities will be interactive, but there is no requirement to participate in solving the mystery. Knowing Frank, though, I am sure you will not be able to be just an observer for very long…

Tickets are $15 each, or $50 for a table of four. Reservations can be made by calling 256-444-3255, and you need to make them by May 15. For an evening of helping to solve a mystery while helping Athens be an even better place than it already is, make sure you save your spot soon. It’s sure to fill up!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner