Local Restaurants Throw Down In Ultimate Chili Smackdown On December 6 | 6th Annual SoNo Fest & Chili Cookoff Features Chili, Beer, Shopping & Music

November 13, 2015

On December 6, from 11am to 5pm, the 6th annual SoNo Fest and Chili Cook­off will take over 32nd & Thorn streets to give San Diegans a chance to buy local, eat local and drink local, all for a good cause. This free holiday event promises award­ winning chili as local restaurants  face off for chili bragging rights to prove for another year who reigns supreme! There will also be live music, local vendors and a craft beer garden with all proceeds benefiting McKinley Elementary School.

A panel of San Diego celebrities, including Council Member Todd Gloria, Master Chef Junior Winner Nathan Odom, craft beer and North Park supporter Omar Passons and more, will be on hand to judge the 40 restaurant entries for this year's chili cookoff. Participants include BFD, The Blind Burro, Blind Lady Ale House, Brabant, Bub’s At The Ballpark, Cafe Madeleine, Carnitas' Snack Shack, City Tacos, The Deck at Moonshine Flats, Eclipse Chocolat, Fathom Bistro, Hamiltons, Hope 46 at Lafayette Hotel, The Haven, Kensington Cafe, Kindred, Lucha Libre, Monkey Paw, Panchita’s Kitchen & Bakery, Panama 66, Quad Alehouse, Rebecca’s, Ritual Kitchen, The Safehouse, Sipz, Small Bar, Soda & Swine, South Park Abbey, South Park Brewing, Starlite, Station Tavern, Streetcar, Tiger! Tiger!, Toronado, True North, UpTown Tavern, Underbelly, Urban Solace, Waypoint Public and West Coast Tavern.

The SoNo Fest & Chili Cookoff is a free-to-attend street fair, but everyone is invited to sample the chili entries and vote for their favorites. $20 buys five restaurant chili tastings in a handcrafted ceramic bowl, and for $35 dollars, patrons can enjoy 10 chili tastings along with a ceramic bowl. The event is presented by San Diego Ceramic Connection with proceeds benefitting the McKinley Elementary School Foundation.

“This event has evolved from a small group of friends and patrons gathering to eat chili and have a good time into a major street festival and fundraising event to benefit McKinley,” said Kouta Shimazaki, owner of San Diego Ceramic Connection, “The people in our community have really pulled together to make this a success and that’s something I’m proud to be part of.”

The festival, held in the heart of San Diego’s South and North Park neighborhoods at 32nd & Thorn, will also feature craft beer and wine from local breweries and vineyards, an assortment of food trucks, unique holiday gift shopping from 30 local artists and craft vendors and live music on two stages. Kids can enjoy a children’s fun fest area complete with carnival games, bounce houses, hairdos and face painting, mini ping­pong tournament and more.

Bar Pink and The Casbah will sponsor two live music stages to keep the crowd dancing throughout the day. Bands will include Shawn Rohlf & The Buskers, The Creepy Creeps, G Burns Jug Band, The Bed Breakers, Unsteady, The Nards, Schizophonics, Ypsitucky, Trailduster, Triumph of the Wild and the Downs Family.

A holiday staple for many, drawing approximately 18,000 people from around San Diego and surrounding areas, SoNo Fest is organized and produced entirely by McKinley parent volunteers–including 25 committee members who volunteer their time on the event year­round and more than 300 volunteers on the day of the event.

“I’m thrilled to be part of this community where parents give back so much time and effort ” said McKinley principal Deb Ganderton, “This event helps us give McKinley students access to the arts, music and Spanish, which are important components for us to offer in order to sustain our International Baccalaureate status.”

For a complete list of restaurants, celebrity judges, bands, vendors, food trucks, sponsors and event information, visit s​onofestchilicookoff.com.