Aug 29, 2015

FVCC Festival of Flavors Features Nine Days of Fine Foods and Flavors

FOF-8-Web-HotlinkProceeds Support Students Valley-wide

This past year, the Flathead Valley Community College Foundation awarded $621,000 in scholarships because of the generosity and support of businesses, organizations and individuals throughout Northwest Montana. On September 25, the Foundation, in partnership with event sponsor Fun Beverage, Inc., will kick off the new academic year with its eighth annual Festival of Flavors. Over nine days, community members in Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, Lakeside and Whitefish will have opportunities to attend unique culinary events to raise money for FVCC students in need.


“Thanks to the generosity of the people and the communities we serve, our Foundation was able to award 687 scholarships to students in need last year,” said FVCC President Jane A. Karas. “This support helps make it possible for our local students to stay in school and achieve their dreams.”


Students who receive scholarships complete their education at a higher rate and in a shorter timeframe, Karas added. Karas and student scholarship recipients will attend many of the Festival events, providing community members the opportunity to learn more about the impact scholarships have on student success. 


“Little did I know when I came back to school that this decision would lead to a transformation in myself that I never thought would be possible,” said Nick Glynos, a biology student and recipient of the Foundation’s 2015-16 $10,000 Transformation Scholarship. “I am humbled and grateful for this support.”


At the Festival opener on September 25, guests will gather on the college campus to experience Spanish paella and an array of tapas prepared by the faculty and students of The Culinary Institute of Montana at FVCC. Spanish food will be complemented by tastings of sangria, Spanish wines and local wines and microbrews and live music by Spanish guitarist Leif Christian.  Tickets to this event are $50 per person. 


The Festival is proud to highlight five restaurants across the Flathead Valley. On September 28, guests can join Chef DeAnna McCann at Flathead Lake Brewing Company in Bigfork to enjoy cuisine paired with microbrews and live music provided by FVCC music instructor and guitarist Steve Eckels. On September 29, Chef Chris DeMaio will present a farm-to-table dinner with wine pairings at Three Forks Grille in Columbia Falls. On September 30, Schafer’s Restaurant in Woods Bay will feature dinner prepared by Chef Casey Engel paired with wines and a spectacular view. On October 1, Chef Keith Matthews of Truby’s invites guests to wine and dine at its original home in downtown Whitefish. Finally, on October 2, guests can experience Seven in Lakeside, where they will enjoy an evening of dinner and wine pairings with Chef Eric Larson. Tickets for the microbrew dinner in Bigfork are $75 each and $100 each for all wine pairing dinners. 


The Festival will culminate October 3 with the Grand Wine Tasting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kalispell. The event will feature silent and live auctions, a rally for scholarships and up to 200 local and regional wines, dozens of culinary stations and special showcases featuring cuisine prepared and served by FVCC’s culinary faculty and students. The silent auction will feature bottles of fine wine, creative college classes, food and kitchen items and a fun variety of entertainment and art, including original art by FVCC Art Department faculty and students. The live auction will feature trips to Tuscany, Italy, and New York City as well as private dinners with FVCC chefs and visiting chefs. For more information on the auctions, to view the event menus, or purchase tickets, visit, or call 756-3632. 


“We thank the many businesses, organizations and individuals who sponsor and attend these events. They make it all possible,” said Festival of Flavors Chair Donna Lawson. “We look forward to celebrating the wonderful moments of Festival 2015, knowing we did some great work to help students in need complete their education.”


For more information or to learn how to establish a scholarship, contact FVCC Foundation Director Colleen Unterreiner at 756-3914 or