Cortez celebrates stone crab season with 2-day festival

Cortez Stone Crab Festival offers two days of food and music

October 24, 2013 

For commercial fishermen, and for anyone who loves fresh seafood, mid-October bring a reason to celebrate.

It's the start of Florida's stone crab season.

Last year, the Cortez community recognized the season by holding its first Cortez Stone Crab Festival. It was a huge success, organizers say, so they're doing it again this year.

The event, which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, features lots of food (including stone crab claws, of course) kids activities and live music.

The festival takes place at the N.E. Taylor Boat Yard, 119th St. W., in the area around Swordfish Grill, Cortez Kitchen, N.E. Taylor Boatworks, Killer Bait and Cortez Bait & Seafood, which are all sponsors of the event.

It looks as though there's more reason to celebrate this year. The 2013-14 stone crab season was one of the worst in decades, and prices soared to as much as $23 for a pound of jumbo claws. It's still very early in the 2013-14 season, which runs through mid-May, but so far this year's harvest is looking to be a bountiful one.

Among the bands slated to appear at this year's festival are Democracy, Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones and Michael Allman, the son of Gregg Allman and an accomplished recording artist and concert performer in his own right.

Details: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 26-27, N.E. Taylor Boat Yard, 119th St. W., Cortez. Admission: Free. Information: 941-798-2035 or

-- Marty Clear

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