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

The sun is out, the cascarones are on vivid display and El Mercado is in full-on Fiesta mode. This can only mean one thing: Old Spanish Days Fiesta!

A first-timer to 1st Thursday is Santa Barbara Sheet Music (1036 Santa Barbara St.), inviting you to browse in one of the last brick-and-mortar sheet music stores in North America.

“We’re really excited about our 1st Thursday debut,” owner Ron Coleman said. “I feel we have something for everyone: live piano music, wine, beautiful art and a fantastic sheet music selection!”

Not to be missed is the Sketchbook Project at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. A global crowd-sourced art project fueled by anyone and everyone, SBMA will host this artistic “book mobile” on the Museum/Library Plaza. Participants are invited to peruse the sketchbooks and even purchase a blank one from the museum, to be included in this traveling exhibit. SBMA is proud to be the only West Coast host of the Sketchbook Project between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Swinging easily into 1st Thursday’s Fiesta theme, Casa Dolores, Center for the Study of the Popular Arts of Mexico (1023 Bath St.) will kick off their month-long Summer Film Series, featuring the Mexican surrealist works of Luis Buñuel. UCSB’s Dr. Victor Fuentes, an expert on the great Spanish-born filmmaker, will lead the discussion and sign copies of his book about Buñuel. This week’s film is Los Olvidados (a $5 to $8 donation is requested). Casa Dolores is also hosting a Fiesta Flower activity at the corner of State and Anapamu streets. Stop by and create your own Flores de la Fiesta — all ages welcome!

Oliver & Espig (1108 State St.) celebrates photojournalist Robb Klassen and Kellie Kreiss, who work with Global Youth Projects, a locally based group that helps bring recognition to grassroots organizations worldwide through photojournalism. Oliver & Espig is donating a portion of the evening’s sales to Global Youth Projects.

While 1st Thursday offers extraordinary exhibits and paintings indoors, be sure to check out the demonstrations, performance art and live music outdoors. Venture over to the Marshall’s Patio to listen to singer-guitarist-songwriter Shaun Saunders, with a musical style based on the tradition of the Spanish guitar. And of course, it wouldn’t be Fiesta without Flamenco!

You’ll find ¡FLAMENCO! Santa Barbara, our community’s only resident flamenco group, in the Paseo Nuevo Courtyard. Experience the thrill and excitement of the dance of the Spanish gypsies with Linda Vega, her dancers and special guest artists from Spain.

All of these attractions and many more are free during 1st Thursday this week. With more than two dozen 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 offered at each gallery as well as all public performances and interactive exhibits.

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