This weekend, it’s time to party Cortez style at the 37th annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival.
The community tradition features lots of tasty seafood and two days full of live music set in the heart of the historic fishing village.
Here are a few things to know before you go.
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Location and admission
This year’s festival will be held adjacent to the Florida Maritime Museum at the eastern end of Cortez.
Festival hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Organizers say the event averages 20,000 attendants.
Limited parking is available throughout the village, including a free parking lot on the east side and several paid lots.
Alternatively, festival goers can park at G. T. Bray Park (5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W., Bradenton) and catch a shuttle to Cortez for $1.50 each way.
Islanders can catch a free trolley to the festival from the Coquina Beach parking lot on Anna Maria Island.
Festival admission is $4; children ages 11 and under are free.
If you’re interested in a closer look at the town’s history, make sure to stop by the Florida Maritime Museum. Admission is always free.
This year’s lineup is packed with local talent. Here’s who will play:
10-11 a.m.: Shanty Singers
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: Doug Demming
1-1:30 p.m.: Awards and Introductions
2-4 p.m.: Eric Von Band
4:30-6 p.m.: Koto Ray Show
10:30 a.m.-noon: Soupy Davis and his Band
12:30-2 p.m.: Ted Stevens & the Doo Shots
2:30-4 p.m.: Jason Haram
4:30-6 pm: Karen and Jimmy Band
Sunday on the Bratton Store porch at Florida Maritime Museum from 1-5 p.m.: Eric Von
Prepare your taste buds; it’s going to be a delicious ride.
This year’s festival will welcome 19 food vendors cooking up a smorgasbord of the ocean’s bounty.
Fresh seafood offerings will include mullet, clams, crab, shrimp, crawfish, grouper and lobster.
Mac and cheese, barbecue, hamburgers and Greek food are also on the menu.
For something sweet, pick from doughnuts, crepes, strawberry shortcake, homemade ice cream and more.
The weather is looking perfect for outdoor activities this weekend, with highs forecast to be in the 70s and comfortably cool lows.
Rain chances are slim on Saturday and Sunday.
What it’s all about
Since its inception, Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival has been a fun way of preserving the unique culture of Cortez.
The village’s role as a fishing capital dates back hundreds of years, and it’s one of the few active Florida fishing villages remaining today.
Currently, the festival benefits a special cause. Proceeds go to support Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, a local non-profit.
The organization is working to maintain and expand F.I.S.H. Preserve, one of the only remaining pieces of undeveloped coastline in Manatee County.
This weekend, you can help preserve the cultural and environmental legacy of the Florida gem, and stuff your face with delicious food at the same time.
It’s the Cortez way to party.