Complaints, Large Crowds, and Awesome Grub at The Great Googa Mooga

The main stage featured music acts like The Roots and Hall & Oates

Lots of foodies came out for this one!

Disorganized, expensive, crowded/packed, too hot, and a bunch of four-letter words were used to describe The Great Googa Mooga, a food, beer, wine, and music festival in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park featuring some of the best restaurants in New York City. Even though this post is not intended as a review, I will acknowledge the choice words some folks had with the festival and honestly, it’s hard to argue those points. For the most part those people were right on, it was crowded. Disorganized, yes. Expensive, yeah but what festival isn’t?

Maybe that was their experience but it was not mine. I went on Saturday, May 19 with two friends, the day people are most complaining about but we had a plan. We expected a crowd; it’s a free festival with 40,000 plus tickets given away for each day, and if you’re a math whiz, that’s 80,000.

El Camino with custom plates

Actually it’s the El Cavino! Wine was in the back!


But that begs me to ask this…Have people lost their critical thinking skills?

We had a loose game plan going in, if each of us stood in separate lines, at least if two went to one vendor and the other was in another, we would order enough so we could all try various food items. Did we try everything we wanted? No, I sure didn’t. But I did try around a dozen things. We noticed groups of five or six people complaining while standing in one line. This was straight up stupid. Why not send one or two to get beer while the others get food? Trust this, it is efficient. All we did was stay in the same area and let each other know where we would be and with the non-existent cell service meeting up at a common place was necessary.

The burger corner featured restaurants like the Spotted Pig

Juicy sliders with toppings on the side from Dumont Burger


The one line with an unbearable wait was the beer, wine, soda, and water booths scattered around the festival. There had to be an easier way to do this, maybe separate them? Push carts? Something other than the way it was done. Another seemingly ridiculous beer and wine strategy was the Googa Mooga cash card. The way this worked was certain beer and wine vendors under a large tent did not accept cash or credit, just those Googa Mooga cards, so to get a beer under the special tent you had to wait in line to put money on this gift card of sorts, then wait in another line to get your beverage.

Apple Ginger Soda (left) and Lemon, Pink Peppercorn, and Thyme Soda (right) from Brooklyn Soda Works

That’s what the deal was with The Great Googa Mooga. Rumors were that Sunday was the better day with quicker lines. One tip to improve the festival is an easy one; eliminate giving away so many tickets! Either that or charge people. Charging admission would easily reduce this year’s crowd.

Special signs made up just for The Great Googa Mooga

And another

Real shaved ice from People’s Pops. Tried both the Red Plum and Rhubarb.


Now, I still had fun because of the plan we had. My crew and I expected a packed park and honestly, we did not get all the way there to turn around and leave. Connecticut does not have a food festival of this magnitude so I embraced it, even with the sadness of missing out on Brooklyn Brewery’s Googa Mooga exclusive brew, Doc Pomus. Everything we sampled was a winner, from Kutcher’s four day cured pastrami sandwich on rye (sorry about the missing photo, I demolished it without thinking), to Dumont Burger’s juicy sliders, and the sweet treats of Crack Pie and Compost Cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar.


Cookin With Coolio’s Soul Rolls. Yes, that Coolio. A soul food take on an egg roll. Lots of these sold. So good and a perfect guilty pleasure. Coolio was there too!

Popular Pork Belly Tacos from Colicchio & Sons

Dessert Time!

I brought home a piece of Crack Pie from Momofuku Milk Bar after consuming one on the spot! Others tried: Compost Cookie, and their version of an Arnold Palmer, frozen with Grapefruit Juice, Yuzu, and Milk. Cooled me right off on a hot day.

Enjoy the food photos and others from around The Great Googa Mooga! And give the festival a chance next year, I have a feeling it will be much improved. If they were able to improve it by a little in just under a day, I have hope for what planners can do in a year. Until next year Googa Mooga, until next year.

The Great Googa Mooga
Prospect Park
Brooklyn, NY
Twitter: @GoogaMooga

Other items not pictured were eaten so fast no lens could capture them. Missing: Kutcher’s Pastrami Sandwich and pickles, actual cup of shaved ice, Aloe Water, Compost Cookie, Arnold Palmer, Basil Lemonade, Kimchi. 

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