History, great food, great music at Cortez fest


By Cindy Lane | sun staff writer

CORTEZ – The 29th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival on Feb. 19 and 20 will celebrate historic Cortez, one of the last remaining working fishing villages in Florida.
Commercial fishing historically was one of the twin pillars of Manatee County’s economy, along with agriculture, according to John M. Stevely, one of the festival’s original organizers and a speaker at the festival.

Despite obstacles, including the longline ban, the gill net ban and other restrictions, the pioneering spirit of Cortez continues with two working fish houses providing grouper, mullet, stone crab, baitfish and other seafood to local and international markets, he said.

The two-day fishing festival gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about commercial fishing and its history with informal talks and maritime exhibits.
Other activities will include live music, nautical arts and crafts, kids’ games and famous Cortez seafood.

Bands include the Manatee River Bluegrass Band, which has shared the stage with Bill Monroe, the Osborne Bothers, Tony Rice and the locally famous Poindexter Band, Cortezian Eric von Hahmann, Cortezian Soupy Davis and his band, Dr. Dave Band, Loretta James Band, Billy Rice Band, Raising Cane, Gumbo Boogie Band, Andrew Eddy, Brian Smalley, Mike Jurgensen, Terry Blauvelt, the Main Hatch Motley Sea Shanty Singers and soul R coaster.
Proceeds from each festival support the purchase and restoration of 95 acres of mangrove wetlands immediately east of the village, the FISH (Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage) Preserve.

The festival has achieved international recognition, gaining the endorsement of famed ocean explorer Jean-Michele Cousteau.

This year, the event is moving to the eastern end of the village, next to the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez. Festival goers can park free in the FISH Preserve parking area, accessible from Cortez Road. Remote parking with shuttle bus transportation will be available in the Cortez Commons parking lot at the corner of Cortez Road and 59th Street West in Bradenton and at Coquina Beach Bayside on Anna Maria Island. Shuttle buses cost $1 each way. Admission is $2 for adults with kids under 12 free.

For more information, visit www.cortez-fish.org

Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 10:46 am  Leave a Comment  

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