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Date of Issue: January 20, 2010

White boots ready for fishing festival

When the fishing boots aren’t covered with mud, slime and blood, something’s wrong in Cortez.

Linda Molto had been noticing that with all the added fishing regulations and a slumping economy, the fishermen needed work.

Those boots needed action.

“I just thought, ‘Everybody’s got their white boots and they’re ready to work,” said Molto, a Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage volunteer.

The situation gave Molto the idea for the theme of the Feb. 20-21 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival: “White boots ready.”

Quite a difference compared to the past two years, in which the themes were edible crabs and mullet, and such.

The FISH T-shirts are designed, featuring a colorful pelican wearing giant white boots.

FISH asked art students in Manatee County middle and high schools, as well as those at the State College of Florida, for a T-shirt design based on the theme.

Justin Garrison, a student at SCF, designed this year’s winner. Molto said he will win $100 and some T-shirts.

The other contestants’ art will be displayed at the festival.

For the second year, the Florida Maritime Museum will be open during the festival.

A 19 ½-foot Compac boat that was donated to the museum, and is on museum property at Cortez Road and 119th Street, will be a raffle item at the festival. The drawing will be Feb. 21.

Finally, a Maritime Art Exhibit featuring Manatee County artists Bob Semler and Val Sandell will be on display at the museum through March 19. The art depicts Cortez scenes and is available for purchase.