CORTEZ – The Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 19-20, and the Florida Institute For Saltwater Heritage (FISH) board is hard at work.
For this 40th year of the popular festival, the theme is “Gearing Up,” a term fishermen use for getting their gear ready before they hit the water.
Saturday, Feb. 19
10-11 a.m. Shanty Singers
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Karen & Jimmy Band
1-1:30 p.m. Awards and Introductions
2-4 p.m. Eric Von Band
4:30-6 p.m. Soul-R-Coaster
Sunday, Feb. 20
10:30 a.m.-noon Soupy Davis & The Band
12:30-2 p.m. Manatee River Blue Grass
1-5 p.m. Eric Von on the Porch (Bratton Store porch)
2:30-4 p.m. KoKo Ray Show
4:30-6 p.m. Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones
If you love fishing boats, gear, seafood and the fishing lifestyle, this event is for you. If you know nothing about commercial fishing, can’t bait a hook or wouldn’t know a crab trap if you were stuck in one, this event is also for you. FISH hopes everyone who attends will not only enjoy the great live music, delicious food, cold drinks and activities for all ages, but also leave having learned about life in Cortez, commercial fishing and its impact on Florida.
During the board’s Jan. 3 meeting, the main topic of discussion was an increase in cost for just about everything associated with the event, which is a strain on the festival’s budget. The festival is FISH’s main revenue source, and it was canceled last year due to the pandemic, which makes this year’s budget tighter to begin with. The board also expressed a need for volunteers.
Admission is $5 for adults and free to children 12 and under. The festival entrance is in the historic Cortez village at 4415 119th St. W. Find more information at the FISH website.