Valley Tastings in Gypsum pairs culinary delights with youth-centered philanthropy |

Valley Tastings in Gypsum pairs culinary delights with youth-centered philanthropy

Valley Tastings participants celebrate at the bountiful basket from the Farm at Knapp Ranch. For its 11th season, the annual event is traveling to Gypsum this Saturday.
Special to the Daily |

If You Go ...

What: Valley Tastings, culinary tastings event featuring samples from Crazy Wagon, Baked & Loaded, Splendido, The Farm at Knapp Ranch, MidVail Restaurant, Wildwood Smokehouse, Turgeon’s Wood Fired Pizza, Creekside Grill, Anapurna, Gerard Family Beef, Mixtura, Bonfire Brewing, Home Chefs of Vail, Rustic Farm to Fork, eat! drink!, Avon Liquor and West Vail Liquor.

When: Saturday, Sept. 9, from 4 to 8 p.m.

Where: Lundgren Amphitheater in Gypsum.

Cost: $60 for a family of four; $40 per couple; and $25 for individuals.

More information: Purchase tickets at For more details, call 970-949-9250.

Gypsum Friday Film Series launches Valley Tastings celebration

The town of Gypsum is launching Valley Tastings on Saturday, Sept. 9, with a Friday Film event appetizer.

This summer’s Friday Film Series will conclude with a farm to table, food truck and family fun event.

On Friday, Sept. 8, from 6 to 10 p.m., the event will feature live music with the Blue Canyon Boys, free pony rides with Mountain Horse Rescue, a bounce castle and local food trucks.

As the event turns to dusk, there will be a special showing of “Temple Grandin.”

The movie showcases the story of Temple Grandin, the famed Colorado State University professor who is autistic. The HBO produced film features Claire Danes as Temple and has been hailed as a classic biographical film. The Eagle County Schools Autism Awareness group is partnering with the town to present “Temple Grandin” and group members will be on hand to answer questions.

For more information about the Friday Film events, contact Krista DeHerrera at 970-524-1727 or visit

Eagle County offers a plethora of fine dining experiences and this weekend, Gypsum will take its bite of that bounty.

On Saturday evening, at Gypsum’s Lundgren Theater Park, the Eagle River Youth Coalition’s 11th annual Valley Tastings event will serve up stew, barbecue, rabbit chops, fresh, locally farmed produce and more in a benefit to enrich the lives of local youth.

“We have revamped Valley Tastings to be more inclusive for families and children, to make it a true celebration,” said Michelle Stecher, executive director of the Eagle Valley Youth Coalition. “We have more restaurant partners than ever and have created a new pricing menu so more families can join for the fun.”

Valley Tastings has changed over the years but has two long-standing traditions: amazing food and the celebration of youth in the community. The idea is to give locals a chance to sample from restaurants and find their new favorite — and for restaurants to tempt new clients with delicious bites.

Family fun

Beyond the delectable samples, the night will be packed with fun for kids with lawn games and bouncy houses. Adults will enjoy live music featuring local band Hardscrabble. Awards will be presented throughout the night to outstanding youths in the community and to a community Difference Maker.

This year, Agnes Harakal, mental health champion and whole-hearted community activist, will be recognized for her work. She teamed with Total Health Alliance for a Changing Minds event — a time to be open and honest about mental health and just how it affects families.

“The biggest problem is the stigma,” Harakal said.

She has worked tirelessly encouraging others to share the stories of their mental health struggles so others will know they are not in this alone.

“There is hope. We can make a difference if we have access to medicine and research and a psychiatrist,” she said.

Outstanding youth

There are many youth making differences in this community — from reading to younger kids to volunteering at any number of organizations. The youth coalition leaders said it was no easy feat to select outstanding youth honorees. This year, several students will be honored:

Jordan O’Neil, a sophomore at Eagle Valley High School will receive the Positive Peer award

Rob Hixon, a senior at Vail Christian High School is the Exemplary Young Leader

Brennecke Gale, a senior at EVHS will receive the Change Maker award

Melanie Ocampo, a senior at Battle Mountain High School will be honored as a Legacy Builder

“It was very hard to choose between them all as they are all great candidates,” said Mikayla Curtis, strategic impact manager for the Eagle River Youth Coalition and manager of the Youth Leaders Council program. “Each student shows amazing grit and is a positive influence in our community.”

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