In its 11th year, SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off, presented by the McKinley Elementary PTC and the San Diego Ceramic Connection (SDCC), has brought together the community and local businesses for a good cause and a good time. Usually, restaurants generously provide chili for tasting, breweries provide brew for drinking, bands provide music for enjoying, and vendors provide items for shopping and McKinley raises over $100K.  It is a fantastic event! The money raised at the event supports the school’s ceramic, music, dance, garden, art, theater, and Spanish programs. The money raised is also used to support the International Baccalaureate program at McKinley.

Naturally, due to the ongoing pandemic, there is no way an event of this type could take place. Nevertheless, there is a great need to help the restaurants that have been an integral part of this event for over 10 years, so 50% of the proceeds will be split with 37 generous, long time restaurant supporters. Please look through the details of this year’s event below. We know it does not compare to being there, but we hope there is at least one aspect that you can help us out with. Let’s end 2020 on a high note by showing our community what South and North Park are all about.

When: November 27 – December 18, 2020

Where:  Safely, in the comfort of your home.

Who: All McKinley families, local residents and visitors to San Diego. Share our site with friends and family to get the word out!

What: Purchase Items, Enter Contests, Shop Vendors, Make Donations.

Purchase Items: visit the site to purchase items such as handmade, unique ceramic bowls specially made by the San Diego Ceramic Connection, this year’s Off the Trail theme commemorative t-shirt, SoNo Fest Cookbook and vintage items.

Enter Contests:  Enter the chili cook-off or chalk art contests or participate in the scavenger hunt.

Chili Cook-off Contest: The Chili cook-off contest will help bring in donations. Supporters will be able to vote on chili entries. Each vote costs $5. There are three categories and each category will have one winner. Winner receives a $50 restaurant gift card. Contest ends December 15th. Entry form with details:

Chalk Art Contest: The chalk art contest is for the kids. There is no cost to vote. There are five categories and each category will have one winner. Winner receives a $20 restaurant gift card. Contest ends December 15th. Entry form with details:

Scavenger Hunt:  A fun activity for the family to safely explore the South & North Park neighborhood and have a little fun! There is no cost to enter. Hunt starts December 1 and ends on the 11th. Further details are available here:

Volunteers needed: Purchased items will be picked up at McKinley according to a set schedule and we need volunteers to help us safely deliver purchases. Please use this signup to take a shift.

Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on

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LIKE / COMMENT / SHARE! We want the most possible $$ to go back to the 37 generous, and long time supporting restaurants, and the school. We need each one of you to help spread the word about this virtual event.