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Savor the Flavors of at October’s 1st Thursday

Kick off the 31-day culinary extravaganza on Oct. 6 in downtown Santa Barbara

Visit downtown Santa Barbara for 1st Thursday, an evening filled with free art, culture, music and fun! The Oct. 6 event will include more than 40 cultural art venues eager to show off new exhibits, artist receptions, demonstrations and live music.

October in Santa Barbara symbolizes a variety of seasonal occurrences. Leaves begin to change colors, the weather shifts to colder temperatures and appetites start to grow as is upon us! Come out to October’s 1st Thursday to help kick off — a month to savor Santa Barbara.

Now in its third year, has grown into a 31-day culinary extravaganza that features food and drink festivals, cooking classes, winemaker dinners, seasonal menus, book signings, epicurean-inspired art exhibits and many other opportunities to sip and savor the bounty of the American Riviera! Many of our 1st Thursday venues are embracing as they feature food- and wine-related fun.

Let the foodie in you come out as you begin your monthly artwalk down State Street. Start off your flavorful evening at Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro, where you can enjoy the sounds of the Montecito Jazz Project over delicious appetizers and wine. Stroll over to Paseo Nuevo to visit featured retailer Viva Oliva for a special sampling of various foods using their delectable olive oils and balsamics.

Follow the scrumptious aromas to TonyRay’s in the De la Guerra Plaza and join in the festivities with local and international art, live music and refreshments. Next, head over to Casa Magazine for the Third Annual Flan Contest and get a taste of the work of photographer Bill Heller, who focuses on all the beautiful things to do in the delicious Santa Barbara area.

Venture over to Bella Rosa Galleries where new paintings by Andrea Monlleo are featured in his show “Whatever the Cuisine,” which focuses on the natural bounty and artistic flare shared by local restaurants and wineries. Finally, don’t forget to check out the Book Den, where you can meet Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, co-founders of Edible Communities, the nation’s largest publishing company dedicated to the local food movement.

While 1st Thursday offers extraordinary exhibits and artwork indoors, be sure to check out the live performers and fun food activities outdoors. Santa Barbara Canning will showcase live demos on food preservation, freezing, dehydration and the art of water bath canning on the corner of State and Anapamu streets. Stop by Saks Fifth Avenue to enjoy the sounds of Inseazin as they play popular styles from Hawaiian folk music to classic and modern rock, originals and island reggae.

Stop by Casa de la Guerra for the Chocolate Taste-Off where some of your favorite downtown gourmet sweet treats are put to the test by local celebrity judges. Judging begins at 5:30 p.m. Take part in the fun with a chocolate-inspired guessing game for a chance to win a gift certificate to a downtown chocolate hot spot. After all of the food settles, make your way to Paseo Nuevo Center Court to savor the pop music sounds of Lily & Marley.

All of these attractions and many more are free during 1st Thursday. With more than 40 stops on this month’s 1st Thursday map, there is sure to be something for everyone. Click here for more information and a complete listing of the specific programming at each gallery as well as all public performances and interactive exhibits.

— Kim Mercado is a marketing and event coordinator for the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization.

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