SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off returns 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 North Park and South Park have to offer. Since its inception in 2010, SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off has raised over $395,000 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, 22 breweries, and back by popular demand this year, a cocktail bar 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.
NEW THIS YEAR:
• Expanded Beer Garden
• Fresh New Games in Kids Zone
Anthem North Park, Burger Lounge, Blind Lady Alehouse, Tiger! Tiger! , Panama 66, Del Sur, The Haven Fernside Kitchen, Kensington Grill, Bivouac Ciderworks, Lucha Libre Taco Shop, Tribute Pizza, Beerfish Waypoint Public, The Deck @ Moonshine Flats, Starlite, Urban Solace, Kindred, Subterranean , Wonderland Ocean Pub, The Smoking Gun and 19 others
SONO FEST & CHILI COOK OFF:
Sunday, December 2 | 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Intersection of 32nd & Thorn Street, North Park
Event is free to enter; Ceramic bowl or festival mug: $20, includes 5 chili tastings; Beer, Wine, & Spirits: $7
Sales start November 1st at sonofestchilicookoff.com.
CHILI | 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 – past winners have included a Japanese Curry Chili from Underbelly, a Smoked Lamb Leg & Tri-Tip Chipotle Chili from Toronado, and a Shrimp and Seafood “Sausage-Style” Smoked Chili with Smoked Jalapeño Cream from South Park Brewing Company. Vegetarian and vegan creations ensure there’s something for everyone, with standout tastings from such notable establishments as Kindred, Anthem Vegan, the new Fernside in South Park and more.
BEER | 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 ($7 each) from Great American Beer Festival gold medal winners Societe and Eppig, Hess Brewing, Pizza Port, and more. Non-beer options include Bivouac Ciderworks and Boochcraft, and Cutwater Spirits will be cracking open their famous canned cocktails from their designated pop-u. Popular flavors including Gin & Tonic, and a Vodka Mule. Buona Forchetta’s vintage pizza truck will be slinging out their award-winning Neapolitan slices from inside the garden for those looking for a bite in- between sips.
SHOPPING | 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. A curated mix of locally- made goods, including kid’s clothes, stationary, jewelry, and home décor, the holiday market features brands such as Heart Soul Printing, Butcher Press, INKredible Design, and Stitches by Stacey.
ENTERTAINMENT | An all-ages event, the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off features an interactive Kids Fest on 32nd Street featuring multiple bounce houses, carnival games, face painters, and a kid’s fest stage. For music lovers, two stages belt out tunes from local bands all day long, including hometown favorites and local legends.
MCKINLEY ELEMENTARY | 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 $395,000. Funding the International Baccalaureate program, SoNo Fest is directly responsible for the school’s ceramic, music, dance, garden, art, and Spanish programs, offering all students the opportunity to expand their educational horizons and ready themselves for middle school and beyond.
ABOUT SONO CHILI FEST & COOK-OFF: With an all-volunteer staff of parents, teachers, and local businesses working to raise funds for arts programming at McKinley Elementary School, the ninth annual SoNo Chili Fest & Cook-Off has evolved from a neighborhood chili exchange to one of San Diego’s most celebrated holiday traditions. Put on in conjunction with the San Diego Ceramic Connection, who provides a generous donation and supplies the keepsake bowls for the event, the festival has raised nearly $395,000 since its inception in 2010, with 100% of proceeds guaranteeing yearly funding for the Spanish, art, and music to hundreds of McKinley school children. For more information, please visit sonofestchilicookoff.com, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.