Competitive winter picnicking came to Brooklyn on Sunday, and the results are in


Competitive winter picnicking, now in its fifth year, kicked off Sunday in Monsignor McGolrick Park in Greenpoint.

Organizers billed the event as “the real Winter Olympics we didn’t know we needed,” and more than 150 people were there – some to eat, and others to show off their creativity. Teams of picnickers competed in categories such as best bribe, punniest, and best in show to win trophies and assorted cash prizes.

The Church of Cheesus team poses for a portrait

The event began as a way to combat the isolation and dreariness of the winter, according to co-organizer Jessica Heyman. She said the idea was to encourage friends to gather, spark creativity and be “ridiculous” together.

On Sunday, approximately 17 groups competed with elaborate costumes (including a full team of Oompa Loompas and self-described prophets of the Church of Cheesus), pun-inspired refreshments (like the Lord of the Rings-inspired Mount Doom Margarita made with Mountain Dew), and over-the-top table setups, which were evaluated by a small committee of judges that awarded participants with cash prizes, such as $200 for best in show, $100 for the best beverage and $50 for the best dish.

The Crow-K team offered Crow-eos to picnickers

Photo by Alex Kent for Gothamist

Organizers said the event always takes place in a community park because they hope to draw in – and possibly inspire – confused onlookers. They were successful in this mission as dozens of park-goers enjoying the uncommonly warm weather stopped and inquired about the colorful event.

The contest is hosted by a New York City-based arts group called Shadow Traffic. It describes itself as a maker of “participatory” art, and has produced events such as the Lost Horizon Night Market, which Gothamist once described as a “an itinerant carnival made of interactive art installations in the backs of box trucks.”

“It’s one of those things where you can make your own magic,” said Heyman. “Especially if you surround yourself with other people who want to do that.”

This year’s competitive winter picnicking winners included:

  • Dumpster Dive Bar, who locked down the best in show award
  • Oompa Loompa Land served up orange pork chop winning the best food category
  • Children of the Crust’s Acai Purple Kool-Aid won them the best drink category
  • IKEA’s blindfolded race to build their furniture secured them the best picnic game category
  • The Onion Ringwraiths greased their way into the most fried category



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