Community celebrates the coast

CORTEZ – The Coastal Community Celebration at the Florida Maritime Museum Thursday evening drew more than 100 people to celebrate World Oceans Day (June 8) a day early.

Established at the 1992 Earth Summit and declared an international holiday by the United Nations in 2009, World Oceans Day is a reminder of the importance of the ocean and keeping it healthy.

At the event, kids learned how hard it is to clean a drop of oil out of a pan of water – much less the ocean – looked at a cross section of a hatching sea turtle nest and touched the skull of a loggerhead sea turtle. Adults took in the maritime heritage of the historic Cortez commercial fishing village, including displays of a 1932 pole skiff built in Cortez, and the event of the evening, the grand opening of the Burton/Bratton Store, relocated to the museum grounds and restored as The Folk School at Florida Maritime Museum.

1932 pole skiff
Visitors to the Coastal Community Celebration check out a 1932 pole skiff built in Cortez. – Cindy Lane | Sun

Under a palm tree’s shade, Nathan Meschelle demonstrated how to make and mend fishing nets. Inside, people learned “The Meaning Behind Maritime” in a new, interactive exhibit inviting community members to share what “maritime” means to them on 3-by-3 canvases.

Nathan Meschelle
Nathan Meschelle demonstrates net mending on the museum grounds at the Coastal Community Celebration, sponsored by The Anna Maria Island Sun. – Cindy Lane | Sun

Visitors picked up their Cortez passports, which entitles bearers to a free Cortez Explorer jersey-style T-shirt after having their passports stamped at 12 or more participating businesses.

Liza Kubik
Seafood Shack Director of Marketing, Liza Kubik, shows off the Cortez Passport, which will earn bearers a Cortez T-shirt after they visit 12 businesses listed in the passport. – Cindy Lane | Sun

Free passports can be obtained at any participating location: AMI Dolphin Tours, Annie’s Bait & Tackle, Beach’n Rides & Rentals, Bradenton Boat Club, Bunny & Pirates, Cortez Bait & Seafood, Cortez Cafe, Cortez Deep Sea Fishing, Cortez Kitchen, Cortez Surf & Paddle, Cortez Watersports, Flippin’ Mullet Sports Bar, King Triton Excursions, Legend Fishing Charters, O’Shucks Raw Bar & Grill, The Sea Hagg, Seafood Shack, Star Fish Company, Swordfish Grill, The Beach Shop, Tide Tables, Tyler’s Ice Cream, YOLO adventures and WAVES Social Boat Club. The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH), the Cortez Cultural Center and the Florida Maritime Museum and Folk School also are participating in the passport program.

Florida Maritime Museum
The Florida Maritime Museum is in the former Cortez Rural Graded School building on 119th Street West and Cortez Road West. – Cindy Lane | Sun