A day at a Brooklyn food festival
I told friends all week I was going to The Great Googa Mooga festival in Prospect Park Sunday. Just say “Googa Mooga” to your friends and watch their reaction. It’s usually a widening of the eyes and a deep tilt of the head to one side. The look says: I’ll give you one more sentence before I pronounce you crazy.
This is Googa Mooga’s inaugural year, so the quizzical looks are not all that surprising. Googa is a foodie fest with food stands, food “experiences,” and some music to boot. A free general admission ticket gets you access to most, not all, of the 75 food vendors.
Vendors include Crif Dogs, Big Gay Ice Cream, The Lobster Place and Russ & Daughters. Despite being meat laden, the grounds have an aura of organic from the rustic-looking vendor booths to the recycling stations.
Googa offers a variety of adult beverages with which to wash down all that food. Featuring 100 wines from around the world and 35 breweries, you can eat and drink yourself into a coma.
The fest still needs to work out a few kinks, namely the distinction between the Extra Mooga ticket ($250) and the General Admission pass (free). The difference between the two is ambiguous on the website.
Not sure why the festival promoters chose not to use the term VIP, but any schlub understands that VIP means “not you.” Thus, customers’ expectations are managed. I would have enjoyed seeing Patton Oswalt or Anthony Bourdain, but alas, they performed behind the Iron Extra “Moola” Curtain.
The Kegs Run Dry
From what I heard, it’s a good thing I went Sunday instead of Saturday.
On Saturday, chaos reigned. Waiting in one long line to buy tickets and another long line to exchange those tickets for beer, customers were angry, especially when the festival ran out of beer and they left holding their tickets. (How do you run out of beer? It wouldn’t happen in Milwaukee.)
On Sunday, the fest wisely abandoned the tickets and all vendors took cash.
Sunday, festival-goers appeared to be having a good time. Many were camped out on the lawn on blankets. The day was beautiful and food smells punctured the air. By the time I left at 3pm, the lines for food were pretty long, but the grounds did not seem over-crowded.
All in all, I’d say let’s do it again next year. But what is a Googa Mooga anyway?