festival of flavors fall harvest moon
Oct 11, 2023
NBC Montana

Festival of Flavors Raises $400,000 for FVCC Student Scholarships

By NBC Montana Staff

The Flathead Valley Community College Foundation’s 16th annual Festival of Flavors fundraiser raised a total of $400,000 for student scholarships.

A wine tasting held in the Stinson Family Event Center raised $275,000.

The events were held from Sept. 29 to Oct. 7.

FVCC awards over $1 million in scholarships every year.

Flathead Valley Community College Foundation released the following:

The Flathead Valley Community College Foundation hosted its 16th annual fall Festival of Flavors events from September 29 through October 7. Between these and events throughout the year, the community raised a total of $400,000 for student scholarships.

The Fall Kick-Off held on September 29 at the O’Shaughnessy Outdoor Amphitheater at the Wachholz College Center was a family-friendly outdoor concert with music by Halladay Blake, Rob Quist, and Clara Wieck. Food trucks Hell on Wheels, Mother Chorizo’s, and NW Island Noodles provided an array of delicious dinner options. Attendees of all ages enjoyed lawn games, face painting, and raffle drawings.

Private dinners held at homes and restaurants across the Flathead Valley offered guests a sampling of local flavors.

FVCC’s Culinary Institute of Montana prepared and served two of the private dinners, offering students the opportunity to produce an intimate gourmet dinner with delicious fall flavors. Local restaurant Herb and Omni hosted FVCC in their recently renovated chic space located at 101 Central Ave in Whitefish and featured an autumn-inspired menu.

Summit Beverage provided the wine pairings for each menu.

The Grand Wine Tasting, “Under the Harvest Moon,” on October 7 featured wine tastings from many wineries through event sponsor Summit Beverage, food samplings from FVCC’s Culinary Institute of Montana as well as local restaurants and caterers. There was a live and silent auction as well as a powerful program to highlight the importance of scholarships. The event was held in the Stinson Family Event Center in the Wachholz College Center on FVCC’s Kalispell campus and raised $275,000 of this year’s Festival of Flavors annual total.

“We are grateful to all our generous supporters for demonstrating the impact scholarships have on FVCC students. Knowing that someone believes in them and wants them to succeed can make all the difference to our students, and many have never had that kind of support before,” said FVCC President Jane Karas.

FVCC Transformation Scholarship recipient Vanessa Palmer spoke at the events about her personal experience with family members who have battled addiction, leading her to study addiction counseling at FVCC to help others and set an example for her three boys. Vanessa also owns her own small business cleaning service and described the impact her own education has had on her kids.

“My attendance and success in college have inspired my children and their father to entertain the idea of a college education rather than limiting themselves as I once did,” said Palmer. The Transformation Scholarship was created through the FVCC Foundation in 2013 and awards up to $10,000 to each recipient to assist need-based students in achieving their dream of higher education.

The Grand Wine Tasting was the final event in the year-long series of Festival of Flavors events hosted by the FVCC Foundation.

All proceeds from FVCC Festival of Flavors events support student scholarships at the college.

Approximately 80% of degree-seeking students at FVCC receive financial assistance and the FVCC Foundation awards over $1M in scholarships each year.

For more information about the FVCC Foundation and Festival of Flavors events, visit