CRESTVIEW — Residents who have missed the elegance, music, unlimited food and fruits of the vine at the community’s annual fall wine gala have reason to rejoice.

The event returns Oct. 22, with all its mouth-watering food, live, danceable music, and palate-pleasing selections of gourmet wines and craft brews.

There are several reasons to dress up and attend the “Evening in the Garden” gala planned for Northwest Florida State College’s Crestview campus, organizers said.

“First, it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Mary Richard, the event’s planner and chef, said. “Secondly, it celebrates our 21 years of friendship with Noirmoutier.”

“And third, it’s going to benefit students right here in Crestview and Okaloosa County,” her planning partner, Lynn Yort, said.


Sponsored by the Crestview Area Sister City Program and Northwest Florida State, the gala is an opportunity for residents to dress up, put on their dancing shoes and sashay under the twinkling lights in the oaks at the Twin Hills Park campus.

The women, through Richard’s A Grand Elegance catering company, have planned an evening of elegance and gourmet food coupled with fine wines, craft brews and the live jazz, blues, pop and Motown music of Jones and Company.

“An Evening in the Garden” is the inaugural celebration for the Jardin de Noirmoutier — the Garden of Noirmoutier — dedicated to Crestview and the college’s 20-year relationship with the island community of the west coast of France.

“It’s a real community effort,” Sister City treasurer Pam Coffield said. “Northwest Florida State and the Sister City program have partnered for two decades.”

“The city of Crestview, several of our North Okaloosa County schools and community organizations including the Dogwood Garden Club have collaborated to show our visitors from Noirmoutier a memorable time, but also to raise funds for a unique scholarship program,” Mayor David Cadle said.


The Sister City scholarship is the first for the Foundation of the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce, a chamber committee formed to further its educational mission.

“The foundation was created exactly for the purpose of providing scholarships and to be able to give back to our community through educational opportunities,” chamber CEO and President Valerie Lott said.

“Whether it’s for vocational training, college or study opportunities, we want to give back to the youth in our area,” she said. “The foundation always welcomes donations to our scholarships.”

The scholarship will assist qualifying underprivileged Crestview High School French Club and Northwest Florida State show choir and traditional choir students to further their French cultural and language studies through travel to Noirmoutier.


Tickets for the “Evening in the Garden” gala are now on sale at the Northwest Florida State Crestview campus office, and will soon be available for online purchase.

“This is an excellent date night event, plus an opportunity to meet our delightful friends from Noirmoutier, learn more about Crestview’s Sister City program, and support local high school and college students’ cultural education,” Sister City ticket chairwoman Janice Crose said.

“And eat some really good food and drink some really excellent wines,” Yort said.



What: “An Evening in the Garden,” a wine and epicurean gala

When: 7-10 p.m. Oct. 22

Where: Jardin de Noirmoutier at the Crestview Bob Sikes Education Center, Northwest Florida State College

Tickets: $45 per person

Notes: An evening of gourmet food, fine wines, craft brews, live music by Jones and Company, in the Jardin de Noirmoutier garden overlooking Twin Hills Park’s east pond. Tickets available at Northwest Florida State College’s Bob Sikes center, or call 902-0904.