The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 18 - February 15, 2012


Cortez festival this weekend


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

CORTEZ – Thirty years ago, John Stevely stirred up the first pot of fish chowder for the first Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival.

It was gone by 11 a.m.

"We had no idea whether anybody would show up," said Stevely, a board member of the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage. "We were completely amazed by the fact we had hundreds of people there in the morning."

This weekend, there is no chance they will run out of seafood at the 30th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival, whose theme is "Something's Fishy in Cortez."

The event, Feb. 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., draws more than 20,000 people to the picturesque historic fishing village to celebrate maritime culture with Florida seafood, nautical arts and crafts, boat tours of the village waterfront, live music and dancing, a marine life touch tank and history tours and talks, one presented by Stevely.

This year's festival features a wide assortment of seafood and other fare from Black Jack Grill, Caribbean Café, Capt. Bob's, Coco Joe's WaterIce, Greek Flame Foods, J&J Bar-B-Que, Laughing Crab Catering, Meaney's Mini Donuts, Funnel Cakes, Ocean Harvest, Prestige Jerk Stop, Rocky Top Concession, Shrimp Shack, Tyler's Ice Cream, Quality Foods International, Mr. C's Word of Mouth, VIP Pizza, Cortez Village Historical Society and West Bradenton Kiwanis.

Bands include Shaman, Soul R Coaster, Eric von Hahmann, Razing Cane, Brian Smalley, Jimmy Johnson, Passerine, Soupy Davis and his Band, Dr. Dave Band, Gumbo Boogie Band, Terry Blauvelt, Sister Act and the Main Hatch Motley Sea Shanty Singers.

Admission is $3, with kids under 12 free. All proceeds go towards enlarging and restoring the FISH (Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage) Preserve, 95 acres of sensitive Sarasota Bay waterfront.

The festival entrance is at the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, 4415 119th St. W. Parking will be available east of the village off Cortez Road, a five-minute walk to the festival.

Remote parking will be available in the Cortez Commons shopping mall parking lot at the corner of Cortez Road and 59th Street West, at G. T. Bray Park, 5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W. and at Coquina Beach Bayside. Shuttle buses to Cortez will be $2.50 per round trip.

For more information, visit

Volunteers needed

Volunteers are needed for the 30th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival on Saturday, Feb. 18 and Sunday, Feb. 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 to 6 p.m.

E-mail Debra Ibasfalean at

30th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival Music Schedule

Saturday, Feb. 18

Main Stage
10:30 a.m. Soul R Coaster
12:00 p.m. Awards and introductions
12:30 p.m. Eric von Hahmann
2:00 p.m. Shaman
4:00 p.m. Razing Cane

Burton Store Porch
10:30 a.m. Eric von Hahmann
11:45 a.m. Passerine
1:00 p.m. Brian Smalley
2:15 p.m. St. Pete and Main Hatch Motley Sea Shanty Singers
2:45 p.m. Eric von Hahmann
4:00 p.m. Jimmy Johnson

Sunday, Feb. 19

Main Stage
10:30 a.m. Soupy Davis and his Band
12:00 p.m. Eric von Hahmann
1:30 p.m. Dr. Dave Band
3:30 p.m. Gumbo Boogie Band

Burton Store Porch
10:30 a.m. Main Hatch Motley Sea Shanty Singers
11:15 a.m. Jimmy Johnson
12:30 p.m. Terry Blauvelt
1:45 p.m. Sister Act (Lane and Val)
3:00 p.m. Eric von Hahmann
4:00 p.m. Eric and Jimmy


AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper