(CNN) — The line to get in was curled around the block.
Twentysomethings in fox-print shirts and retro sunglasses checked their phones nervously. It was the hottest event in Brooklyn on a Saturday afternoon. But it wasn't a club or a trendy new restaurant opening.
It was a festival dedicated to all things cheese.
What rhymes with cheese?
CMI founder Adam Moskowitz in his cow outfit.
Its founder, Adam Moskowitz, is the third-generation owner of a cheese importing company. He's also a part-time rapper who likes to wear a cow costume -- complete with a giant bell around his neck -- when he emcees the CMI.
Originally, the CMI was an industry hangout at Moskowitz's company, Larkin's, a cheese-storage facility.
Now, it's a full-on biannual festival (summers in Brooklyn; winters in San Francisco) that filled the Brooklyn Expo Center event space to capacity in July 2018.
"I'm a guy who went to Burning Man and thought, 'I need to bring this feeling back with me.' " Moskowitz told CNN Travel. "I've always been a promoter. I wanted to throw a cheese rave, but that didn't fly as a concept, so it became a deeply appreciated industry event."
From cheese loving to monging
Cheesemongers show support for their colleagues.
In addition to simply being a place for members of the cheese community to catch up with each other, the festival is a place to learn about new cheeses and industry trends. It's also an event to give cheesemongers and shop owners a chance to teach and share their knowledge with the public.
This year, beyond cheese-tasting booths, there were giveaway T-shirts and tote bags, freely-flowing wine and beer, and even a guy who bills himself as a "cheese artist" hawking his oil portraits of elegant slabs of cheddar and Camembert.
While the main event at CMI is the crowning of a champion cheesemonger, Moskowitz also wants to de-mystify fromage and make it something that everybody can enjoy eating without feeling intimidated.
"Cheesemongers are my best friends. Cheese is a gateway to a better world."