The year is 1912, and thousands of passengers are boarding the RMS Titanic for its maiden voyage to New York City — at least that’s what staff members want residents to think. 

The culinary and programming departments of Otterbein Lebanon, in Lebanon, OH, recently joined forces to take residents back in time for a special Titanic-themed dinner party. 

“We’re always just trying to push the envelope to see how we can make events different and innovative for the residents,” Drew Allen, Otterbein Lebanon’s director of culinary services, told McKnight’s

Each month, both departments host special events for residents, typically on a separate basis. But decided to put their budgets together for a special event residents could enjoy, according to Allen.

Allen, who’s been with the facility for about 10 years, said this is about the fourth they’ve held the Titanic-themed dinner party. For this year, he said staff members really wanted to “go over-the-top.” 

“Residents were able to dress up more formal and have a little fun,” Allen said. 

More than 70 residents attended the dinner, which featured white-glove service, a six-course meal and music from a harpists. Eight residents were hosted at the “Captain’s Table” and received special service, which Allen described as a “highlight of the evening.” 

“We made it fun,” Allen said.

Staff members also found images of the actual boarding passes used by real Titanic passengers. They then replicated the passes for each resident who attended and included information about a real-life passenger who boarded the ship in 1912 — something residents truly enjoyed. 

“Basically, that resident was that passenger for that night,” Allen explained.

“I didn’t even think how big of a deal it would be for them to receive that boarding pass,” he added. “I got phone calls before the ship even ‘took off’ that night.”

Allen credited the programming department for their “excellent” decorations, which he said made residents feel like they were actually walking onto the ship. 

Staff members plan on continuing the Titanic themed-dinner party in the future. 

“A wonderful time was had by all,” the facility noted in a release, “and this time the ship didn’t sink!”