My trick was bringing someone along who I enjoy talking to on a normal basis, so standing in line and making conversation was fun. If I had gone alone I would most certainly have taken a few pictures and high-tailed it out of there. What's it like? There are musical performances, occasional workshops and demonstrations, and food stands set up EVERYWHERE. But every last food stand has a fifteen minute long line.
The food wasn't as healthy as I would have expected. Most of it was fried. I thought there would be more of a veggie/fresh fruit presence than there was. I did however enjoy everything I had.
My brave friend and I arrived at about 1:15 and were faced with a mob of people, though getting in was a surprisingly uneventful and easy process. If you recall, it was ridiculously hot on Saturday, so the first stop was Wooly's Ice.
They were serving two flavors: Mango Tango and Strawberry Brownie, so, of course, we had to get one of each!
Here's a good GoogaMooga tip: if you're sweating buckets and haven't eaten all day, for the love of macaroons, do not let something so sugary be your first bite to eat! A few bites in, I started feeling woozy and faint. I ended up eating the fruit and having to forego the vanilla ice and brownie-- and I never give up brownie!
But did I learn my lesson? No!
Next up was macarons from Mille-Feuille (552 Laguardia Pl, New York, NY).
We had their chocolate, rose, and lemon flavors. The chocolate pastry had a mousse-like middle and was rich, but not too sweet. The rose flavor -- well, to be honest the first time I ever ate anything flavored with rose was in Turkey when I tried my first Turkish Delight, so the rose macaron just tasted like Turkish candy (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). The lemon flavored macaron made my lips pucker. I must have looked like quite the sucker (Get it? Get it?) All three were very tasty, but the truth is they seemed a bit underdone. I love macarons, and perhaps it was just the batch mine came from, but they did seem a bit mushier than one might expect.
Onwards, through the food orgy, to Dirty Bird To-Go for some protein, finally! They offered Buttermilk-Dipped Chicken Fingers and watermelon lemonade. The buttermilk provided a thicker coating, lending to a less crispy, more solid skin. Now, I love chicken fingers. Aside from waffle fries, they are my fried food weakness. Were these the best chicken fingers I've ever had? Not particularly, but the portion of food was good and they really hit the spot when I needed to cool it on the sugar. As for the watermelon lemonade? It was outstanding. I'm a sucker for lemonade. (Get it? Get it? -- Fine, I'll stop with the lemon sucking jokes.)
Honesty Hour: I have been to multiple anime/video game conventions. I am familiar with SWAG (Stuff We All Get). GoogaMooga takes the cake on weirdest SWAG.
All in all, I had a really great time. It wasn't the craziest festival I've ever been to. People were generally polite and respectful. I enjoyed dancing to the Louisiana Jazz Band while waiting for my chicken fingers and munching on macarons in a sea of people, beneath the shade of a tree, in the middle of Prospect Park. I'd expect nothing more from a Saturday in New York City.
If you're thinking of attending next year's festival here's some tips:
- SUNSCREEN! I was wearing SPF 50 and still tanned like crazy.
- Bring bottled water. This saved my life.
- Buy Googa Moula early. Googa Moula is how you buy alcohol in the craft beer tent. They actually ran out of beer in the general beverage station, so the tent was the only area serving beer towards the end of Saturday.
- Bring someone you really love with you. This would make a terrible first date (or second or third).
- Be patient. If you don't dig waiting in line, you'll have a miserable time.