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Already, it needs no introduction. Already, a mere twenty-four hour spin of the globe after the end of its first incarnation, The Great Googa Mooga, the giant food Woodstock that took over vast swaths of Prospect Park, has seared itself onto the consciousness of Brooklyn.

They came in many stripes: the overly-eager attendees who found themselves submerged in a nightmarish culinary purgatory; the easy-to-please, who checked expectations at the door, happy to spend a glorious spring afternoon gaping at the spectacle of tens of thousands gathered in one place at one time to gorge themselves in primal communion; the haters who gleefully watched the festival’s Saturday afternoon implosion on Twitter while basking with a cooler of cold beer on a quiet rooftop; and the innocents whose weekend plans of a peaceful picnic in the park were rudely dashed by a shock of fences, barricades and hordes of sweaty hipsters…All felt the terrible power of the Mooga.

Heather Phelps-Lipton, a Red Hook-based photographer, hit The Great Googa Mooga and weathered its force. Here’s her look inside the biggest food festival in the history of New York City, so far.

Yes, as you have probably heard, the lines were long at The Great Googa Mooga. Here, crowds queue for meat under the hot midday sun.

A 'bacon flight,' from Bacon Land, the stand operated by Smorgasburg BLT stars, Landhaus.

From the edges, looking in - to the sea of humanity gorging itself at the Nethermead Meadow.

The team from the Breslin, hard at work. Notice the equipment lineup - deep fryers, wood burning down on one grill, and burgers cooking on another. No one was phoning it in at The Great Googa Mooga.

Never did find those refreshing-looking green drinks...

A Duck Dog getting slawed at the Craft stand

Blankets colonized the meadow, as festival-goers established bases from which to foray out to lay siege to the food vendors ringing the Nethermead, and then to eat, drink, and rest before venturing out again.


Burgers, from Williamsburg's Dumont.

One of several beer stands. The lines at the beer stands grew to unimaginable lengths at times. Beer was one of the festivals stumbling blocks - attendees had to wait in one line to show ID, another to purchase 'Googa Moula' - tickets to redeem for beer and wine - and yet another to actually get said beer and wine.

Beer: the taste of victory at The Great Googa Mooga.


It wasn't all eating at the Mooga - a slew of demos offered rest to digest. Here, at the 'UrBarn,' designed by David Rockwell, a demo on sustainable eating.

The view from the crowd at an UrBarn demo.

Lobsters on the grill, from Chelsea's The Lobster Place

Foie gras donuts for everyone! A family enjoys Do or Dine's signature, albeit controversial, treat.

The special tented beer and wine pavilions offered an unexpected respite from the crowds, lines and sun. Unfortunately, at times, this was due to technical issues that made it impossible to purchase beer and wine in the tents.

Order was eventually restored, and the booze flowed.

Inside the beer tent: beer, shade, and a suspicious lack of crowds.

While the restaurants of celebrity chefs were well represented at Googa Mooga, actual celebrity chefs were much harder to find. Marcus Samuelsson of Harlem's Red Rooster was one of the only boldface name actually working his booth, but he seemed to spend more time graciously posing for photos with fans than slinging his roasted chicken.

Food Network star chef Michael Symon demoed the proper way to grill a hangar steak.

Wooly's Ices - a refreshing mid-afternoon break from meat.

Inside the 'Extra Mooga' - a restricted area of the festivals where $250 tickets granted access to, among other things, oysters...

...and shade...

...and smoked meat sandwiches from Boerum Hill's Mile End Delicatessen, served in style by Mile-Enders in pristine chefs' whites.

Back outside, at the regular Mooga...

...wood-fired pizzas from the venerable Roberta's of Bushwick.

Hamageddon - a giant, spit-roasting pig robot that spouted jets of flame from its snout when angry.

Many vendors began selling out of food in the mid-afternoon on Saturday, causing some...consternation...among the masses.

If we had to choose one shot to sum up the experience...this would have to be it.

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One Response to A Great and Terrible Thing: Inside The Great Googa Mooga – Brooklyn Biggest-Ever Food Fest, In Photos

  1. Pingback: Googa Mooga: Zen and the Art of Enjoying Other People’s Terrible Time | Nona Brooklyn | What's Good Today?

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