SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off, happening Sunday, December 1, 2019, is presented by the McKinley Elementary PTC and the San Diego Ceramic Connection (SDCC). This event brings together the community and local businesses for a good cause and a good time – together we are building a sustainable future for the next generation. 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.  

When: Sunday, December 1, 2019, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm (This event is always on the first Sunday of December each year!)

Where:  Thorn Street from Bancroft to 31st Street, and 32nd Street from Thorn to Upas Street. Attendance is regularly 20,000 people from our school community, surrounding neighborhoods and all over San Diego.

Who: All McKinley families come out and enjoy this awesome event! It’s also heavily attended by local residents and visitors to San Diego.

HowThe San Diego Ceramic Connection spends months spinning and firing up handmade, unique ceramic bowls that are sold to patrons of the event for $22. With the bowl, you get a tasting pass to sample 5 of the 30+ chilis made and donated by local restaurants. Our judging panel decides who has the best overall, most unique and best vegetarian chili. Patrons vote to decide who has the best people’s choice chili!

Along with the bowls and chili, the event hosts food trucks, a huge booze garden for the 21+ crowd boasting 20+ local brews, cocktails, cider and more, live music by San Diego bands on two main stages, a big Kids Zone with fun for the little ones, and 30 vendors selling handmade items (holiday shopping!).

This event is 100% McKinley parent and North/South Park neighbor operated. It takes a LOT of volunteers and planning to pull off this event each year, but it’s all worth it!

  • Open Committee Positions
  • Calendar
  • Sponsorship (Can you sponsor SoNo Fest? Know someone who can? Click HERE for more information on available sponsorship opportunities.)
  • Amazon Wish List (Supplies needed, please consider buying something for the cause!)
  • Tickets (these are not for ceramic bowls, but for BYO bowl tasting passes and commemorative mugs & passes only- ceramic bowls must be purchased in person)
  • Volunteers needed:

Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on

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LIKE / COMMENT / SHARE! We rely on word of mouth, as there is little marketing budget for this event. We want the most possible $$ to go back to the school, and we need each one of you to help spread the word about the event.


Any questions? Please ask! We love questions. Visit for more event details!