What’s happening Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend? There’s a lot going on in the area and crowds and traffic congestion are assured. Go early, leave late but you’ll have to be patient. Take the shuttle bus to avoid hunting for a parking spot for your vehicle but expect to be at the mercy of slow traffic.
The 30th annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival will be held Saturday February 18 and Sunday February 19 10am to 6pm.
On display are demonstrations, museum and historical records of Florida’s oldest working fishing village. Seafood, arts and crafts and live music will also be part of the increasingly popular festival that is held every year.
Admission is $3 for adults and free for kids under 12. All proceeds are to the benefit of the F.I.S.H Preserve, the non-profit Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage.
To get to the festival head for 4600 124th Street West, Cortez, Florida 32415, but because of the popularity and small streets of Cortez Village, free parking is available east of the village off Cortez Road. Go early or late to get a parking spot. Anna Maria Islanders can take the free trolley from Coquina Beach to the parking site. More remote parking is available at G.T. Bray Park at 5502 33rd Ave W, Bradenton where a shuttle service connects to the festival for $2 round-trip.
Anna Maria Island is enriched by the wide range of very different communities that surround it. Perhaps the most colorful and unusual of these is the working fishing village of Cortez, immediately across the bridge from Bradenton Beach, on the southwest side of Bradenton. Cortez is full of extremely picturesque cottages where real life still goes on. In many parts of the country, these kinds of communities have become sterile tourist attractions, and no longer authentic, but Cortez still works hard to maintain its traditions and meaningful activities, and the residents still work in the local fishing industry.
For these reasons, Cortez is always a wonderful place to visit, and to celebrate. But the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival is a time when the festivities are in full swing. This year, the Twenty Ninth Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival takes place on February 19 and 20.