This week kicks off a series of events featuring South Coast fashion and food through September and October, which organizers believe will help boost the area’s economy.

For the first time, Fashion’s Night Out will be featured Friday at Paseo Nuevo, 651 Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara.

Fashion’s Night Out is a “global initiative” to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, boost the industry’s economy and put the fun back in shopping, according to Kate Taggert Honea, spokeswoman for Paseo Nuevo. Stores will put on events and other attractions to make shopping more exciting, she said.

“Fashion’s Night Out was started last year in New York by some Vogue (magazine) editors,” Honea said.

Fashion’s Night Out kicks off the two-day Shop Spree SB at Paseo Nuevo, which includes live entertainment and discounts at participating retailers. Click here for details.

On Oct. 1, the second annual “epicure.sb: a month to savor Santa Barbara” will begin. The 31-day culinary extravaganza will offer food and drink festivals, cooking classes, wine blending seminars, special seasonal menus, epicurean-inspired art exhibits and other opportunities to savor the bounty of the American Riviera.

For the second year, the Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau and Film Commission and the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization joined forces to develop and present epicure.sb. The Downtown Organization also is promoting Shop Spree SB.

“Culinary tourism is one of our big marketing platforms,” said Kathy Janega-Dykes, president and chief executive officer of the Conference & Visitors Bureau. “Last year, business said they saw an increase in activity and most events were sold out.”

Two years ago, Downtown Organization officials began to see that one restaurant week was not enough to accommodate all of the food-related events in October, according to the group’s marketing director, Mary Lynn Harms. She said businesses saw an uptick during last year’s epicure.sb.

The area’s restaurants, wineries, gourmet purveyors and galleries will offer about 100 cuisine, libations and other events throughout the month. Click here for details.

The “Eat Local Challenge,” by Edible Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market, will offer sustainable living and “slow food” education for residents and visitors, as will cooking demonstrations presented by Whole Foods Market, 3761 State St., and “slow down” dinners hosted by Coast Restaurant, 31 W. Carrillo St.

The first Sustainable-Organic-Local Food Festival is set for Oct. 2 at Plaza de Vera Cruz and will feature exhibitors and vendors representing various aspects of the food system, a farm animal petting zoo, workshops and culinary stars such as Iron Chef Cat Cora.

Other events planned during October include the California Avocado Festival on Oct. 1-3, the Autumn Arts, Grapes & Grains Festival on Oct. 2, the Harbor & Seafood Festival on Oct. 9, the California Lemon Festival on Oct. 16-17 and the Santa Barbara Chowder Fest on Oct. 24.

Wine, microbrews, coffee and spirits will be offered at tasting and pairing events throughout October.

Celebration of Harvest weekend is scheduled for Oct 8-11 at the Rancho Sisquoc Winery in the Santa Maria Valley. Santa Barbara Pedicab will offer special car-free rates for Urban Wine Trail tasters all month.

Blending seminars will be led by winemakers for Margerum Wine Co. and Municipal Winemakers. Pairing gourmet chocolate with wine will be explored through sampling sessions with artisan chocolatier Jessica Foster.

Tequila and coffee will get their time to shine at Blue Agave, 20 E. Cota St. in Santa Barbara, and Borders Café, respectively. The “Mai Tai Throw Down” will be held again at the Wildcat Lounge, 15 W. Ortega St.

Microbrews will be on tap at the Santa Barbara Beer Festival on Oct. 16.

An evening of art and culture will be offered at 1st Thursday on Oct. 7. The night will take a special focus on the culture of food and drink at more than 30 participating downtown venues.

Visual and performance art will be performed at venues such as Casa De La Guerra, 9 E. De la Guerra St., on Oct. 2, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St., on Oct. 7 and Oreana Winery, 205 Anacapa St., on Saturdays and Sundays during October.

The Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum’s Scorpio Rising is a pumpkin-carving contest planned for Oct. 29.

The Blue Agave restaurant will invite patrons to honor their ancestors during a “Dia de los Muertos” dinner on Oct. 29.

Hotel packages are available during epicure.sb. The “Urban Wine Trail” package at the Canary Hotel includes one night of accommodation, beach cruiser bicycles and wine tasting for two at the Kunin Wines and Municipal Winemakers tasting rooms, with rates starting at $269 per night. Hotel Santa Barbara’s “Santa Barbara Bounty” package includes one night of accommodation, a bottle of local wine, edible treats and $100 dining credit, with rates starting at $329 per night. The Old Yacht Club Inn’s “Choose Your Libation” package gives guests a choice of a guided wine or beer tasting tour for an add-on fee of just $50 per person, with room rates starting at $119 per night.

The “Shop, Sip & Savor” package at the Santa Barbara Hotel Group’s five properties includes accommodations, a bottle of South Coast wine and a reusable tote bag filled with shopping and dining discounts at more than 80 restaurants and shops, with rates starting at $183 per night. The Cabrillo Inn’s “Sleep & Eat” package has rates starting at $129 per night, and the Ramada Limited’s “Stay & Dine” package has rates starting at $109 per night, including dining discounts.

Click here for hotel package details, a comprehensive event schedule and a complete list of participating businesses.

Not included in epicure.sb but also occurring in October is the return of the Concours de Elegance at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, 3375 Foothill Road in Carpinteria, on Oct. 29-31. The Halloween weekend concours will include a road rally, wine tasting, gala dinner and classic car show. It is being brought back to the South Coast after nearly two decades by Santa Barbara-based Stratus Media Group.

Noozhawk business writer Ray Estrada can be reached at restrada@noozhawk.com.