Popular Street Fair Returns To Raise Funds For Local School | SoNo Fest & Chili Cook Off Takes Place On Sunday, December 3

November 22, 2017

What began as a humble community potluck hosted by the San Diego Ceramic Connection has grown into one of the most anticipated holiday events of the year - the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off, a free-to-attend event returning to the intersection of Thorn and 32nd Street on Sunday, December 3, from 11am-5pm. We are raffling off two Chili Fest tasting passes, which include a complimentary San Diego Ceramic Connection mug or bowl.


SoNo Fest is an all-volunteer event that has become one of the neighborhood’s largest festivals, with nearly 20,000 hungry patrons hitting the block to taste, sip, shop, and play their way through the best that North Park and South Park have to offer. Since its inception in 2010, the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off has raised over $275,000 for the elementary school’s International Baccalaureate program.

Drawing top restaurants and breweries from the bordering communities, the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off features over 40 local chefs, 20 breweries, and new this year, a cocktail component helmed by Cutwater Spirits. A holiday craft market, two music stages, a food truck court, and kids play zone round-out the all-ages affair.

Battling it out for bragging rights to the best pot of chili in the city, the festival features forty chefs from prominent restaurants in the neighborhood, each offering up a special chili inspired by their locale. Not limited to the traditional bean-and-beef chili recipes, participating chefs pull out all the stops with their creative concoctions. Vegetarian and vegan creations ensure there’s something for everyone. Participating restaurants this year include City Tacos, Anthem Vegan, Hamilton's, Small Bar, Today & Swine, Beerfish, Carnitas' Snack Shack, Fathom Bistro, Kindred, Toronado, Tiger!Tiger!, Tribute Pizza, and many more. Commemorative festival mugs and ceramic bowls from San Diego Ceramic Connection are available online and will be sold at the event for $20, and will include five chili tastings. Five additional tastings can be purchased for $15.

Drawing on North Park’s reputation as a craft beer mecca, SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off’s beer garden features 20 breweries from the surrounding areas. Hop heads will be able to purchase pours ($6 each) from newcomers such as a Bivouac Ciderworks and Boochcraft. New for this year, Cutwater Spirits will be cracking open their famous canned cocktails from their designated pop-up. Popular flavors including Gin & Tonic, and a Vodka Mule. Italian pizzeria Buona Forchetta’s vintage pizza truck will be slinging out their award-winning Neapolitan slices from inside the garden for those looking for a lite bite in-between sips.

Those looking to partake in some last-minute holiday shopping can browse the Holiday Marketplace, where nearly 30 local makers and artisans will be offering their unique, homemade wares to eager shoppers. A curated mix of locally-made goods, including kid’s clothes, stationary, jewelry, and home d├ęcor, the holiday market features brands such as Craft Beard, Nomad West, and Loa Designs Jewelry.

Truly an all-ages event, the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off features an interactive Kids Fest and two live music stages, offering entertainment long past the initial chili samplings. Over on 32nd Street, kids can run free in the SoNo Kids Fest, with multiple bounce houses, carnival games, face painters, and so much more. For music lovers, two stages belt out tunes from local bands all day long, including hometown favorites and local legends.

Looking to build a sustainable future and offer expanded opportunities for the neighborhood children, 100% of proceeds from the festival go directly to McKinley Elementary School. To date, the all-volunteer committee has managed to raise nearly $275,000. Funding the International Baccalaureate program, the SoNo Fest is directly responsible for the school’s ceramic, music, dance, garden, art, and Spanish programs, offering hundreds of students the opportunity to expand their educational horizons and ready themselves for middle school and beyond.

For more information, visit sonofestchilicookoff.com.