The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 22 - February 24, 2010



Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Lydia Silipo, left, Gigi Silipo and Shawna Ellis display their
painted faces and a nice collection of beads Sunday at the
28th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival.

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CORTEZ – The 28th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival drew about 25,000 visitors to the historic fishing village last weekend for food and fun.

Streets brimming with maritime art, steaming crab claws and displays of all things marine kept folks entertained, along with music, dancing and free boat tours of the “kitchen,” as Cortezians refer to their Sarasota Bay waterfront.

The Maritime Heritage in Art exhibit by painters Val Sandell and Robert Semler delighted art lovers at the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, a restored schoolhouse that anchors the growing historical village of relocated buildings at the east end of the village. Local artists and craftspeople offered Florida souvenirs ranging from handblown glass fish to handpainted “Cortez” signs.

The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) recognized several people for their community service, including festival art contest winner Justin Garrison, who won $100 for rendering the festival’s theme, “White Boot Ready,” into a graphic of a white pelican - a true local “snowbird” - wearing white boots. The artwork was printed on festival posters and T-shirts.

Kathe Fannon of Capt. Kathe’s Charters won an award for providing public education about Cortez and the environment on her ecotourism boat cruises based at Star Fish Co.

Musicians Clyde Wiggins, Tom Murphy, Arnold “Soupy” Davis and Gordon Perry were honored for their musical contributions to Cortez life.

Mark Green received an award for his work with the Cortez Village Historical Society, and Joe Hankin was honored for volunteering with the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez. Kathy Picarra was recognized for working on the FISH website,

Proceeds from the $2 festival admission go toward expanding and restoring the 95-acre FISH Preserve on the east end of the Cortez fishing village.

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