An old-fashioned picnic, Cortez style
CINDY LANE | SUN
Cortez celebrated its heritage as a
fishing village on Saturday at the annual picnic. The
Few-Miller dock was jammed with Cortezians enjoying
fresh mullet, cornbread, strawberry shortcake, iced tea
and a table full of desserts on Saturday.
CORTEZ – Cortezians put on the finest kind of picnic Saturday, entertained by fiddle music, a skit by Manatee School for the Arts students and each other.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Blue Fulford, as he enjoyed fresh mullet, the fish that made Cortez famous, at the annual Cortez picnic at the Few-Miller dock in the historic fishing village.
As the soft breeze blew off Sarasota Bay and pelicans crashed around the docks looking for supper, Soupy Davis, wearing his white fishing boots, played down home fiddle music with some friends.
After a prayer, everyone dived into the mullet, cornbread and strawberry shortcake, then went from table to table greeting each other.
In an age where everyone has their heads buried in their phones and laptops, getting together with neighbors, friends and family for a picnic on a dock is real life, according to a skit produced by the students, who performed monologues based on their interviews of Cortezians during the picnic.
They impersonated “Tink” Fulford and other famous Cortezians from the past, pondered the future of commercial fishing and celebrated the day with Cortez natives like Juanda Fulford, who defined the meaning of life, “To live and be happy.”
The annual picnics began in 1991 at the schoolhouse, now the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez, said Mary Green, whose son Ben Green’s book, “Finest Kind,” was the basis for the skits.
The students also displayed their paintings, fish prints and photographs of Cortez on a net hung in the fish house at A.P. Bell Fish Co.