San Diego's Popular SoNo Fest Holiday Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off Returns This December 3 | Enter For A Chance To Win 2 Tasting Tickets

November 18, 2023

San Diego's popular SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off returns this December 3 to raise funds for McKinley Elementary School, and we are raffling off 2 chili tasting tickets.

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. The popular street fair returns on Sunday, December 3 to the intersection of Thorn and 32nd Street to raise funds for McKinley Elementary School’s Spanish, art, and music program. This all-volunteer event 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 San Diego has to offer. Since its inception in 2010, the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off has raised over $720,000 for the school.
Battling it out for bragging rights to the best pot of chili in the city, this year's festival features dozens of 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. Past entries have included a Japanese Curry Chili from Underbelly and a Duck and Pork Verde Chili from Blind Lady Alehouse. Vegetarian and vegan creations ensure there’s something for everyone, with standout tastings from such notable establishments as Kindred, Common Stock, Fernside, The Smoking Gun, The Wise Ox and many more. Commemorative festival mugs and unique hand-made-by-the-community ceramic bowls from San Diego Ceramic Connection will be sold for $28, and will include five chili tastings. Additional 5 tastings can be purchased for $25.
Drawing on North Park’s reputation as a craft beer mecca, SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off’s beer garden features 22 breweries from the surrounding areas. Hop heads will be able to purchase pours ($8 each) from Pizza Port, Modern Times, Kairoa Brewing Co, Coronado Brewing, Eppig Brewing, Harland Brewing, Belching Beaver and more. Non-beer options include hard cider, Boochcraft Hard Kombucha Storyhouse Spirits, Ashland Hard Seltzer and Liquid Death canned water. Italian pizzeria Buona Forchetta’s vintage pizza truck will also be slinging out their award-winning Neapolitan slices straight from their portable imported pizza-oven from inside the garden for those looking for a lite bite in-between sips.
Patrons looking to partake in some 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 décor, the holiday market features brands such as Urban Octopus, Jess Makes Macrame, Vintage + Cool, Wild Cloud, The Library Shop and more.
Truly an all-ages event, the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off features two live music stages, offering all-day entertainment long past the initial chili samplings, by hometown favorites and local legends. There are also booths with local reps from the North Park Little League, AYSO, and several other local extracurriculars that share what makes them fun and available to our community. There is also a 5th grade craft table selling goods to raise money for their 5th grade events. Face painting and a bounce house is also in this section. The kids zone is free to all, thanks to our generous sponsors and volunteers.
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, a public school for kids in North and South Park. 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. Without the funds raised, these programs would not be available for the students as these creative learning opportunities are no longer funded by the San Diego School District. Funds are also used to celebrate hardworking teachers with appreciation luncheons, classroom item purchases, and more.
The 14th annual SoNo Fest & Chili Cook Off takes place on Sunday, December 3, from 11am-5pm at the intersection of 32nd & Thorn Street in San Diego's North Park. For more information and to scoop tasting tickets, visit and enter below for a chance to win 2 chili tasting passports.

Enter for a chance to receive 2 complimentary chili tasting tickets to the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off on December 3!

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