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Date of Issue: February 17, 2010

Fishing fest to lure crowd

Mmmm, mullet

Mullet, the fish that made Cortez, is the primary ingredient in this year’s Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival Cook-off sponsored by The Islander. Entries must be delivered by 1 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Cortez Community Center, 4523 123rd St. Court W. Winners will be announced at about 3 p.m. Entry forms and details are available at The Islander Web site, www.islander.org, and at the newspaper office in the Island Shopping Center, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.

Many days a white boot brigade shoves off from the waterfront in Cortez in search for the big catch, the fresh haul.

On Feb. 20 and Feb. 21, Cortez will celebrate the fisher’s way of life and the village’s history with the one-of-a-kind Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival.

The theme of this year’s festival is “White Boots Ready.” Those who don’t get the meaning can gain understanding by visiting Cortez on a workday: When fishers step off their boats at the end of the day, many are wearing white rubber boots that don’t quite reach the knee.

Those in the industry say that white boots are one commonality among a Croatian oysterman, a Vietnamese shrimper and a Cortezian crabber.

The festival, to be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, honors the fisher, showcases Cortez’s history and features locally caught and prepared seafood and locally grown artists, craftspeople and musicians.

The festival schedule includes two full days of music. Also, at noon Feb. 20, organizers will hold the blessing of the fleet ceremony on the waterfront. Later in the day, The Islander will sponsor a cooking contest, with the winners announced at center stage.

The first fishing festival took place in 1981, drawing about 500 people to the waterfront. Over the years the festival has grown to encompass much of the village, from one day to two days and to attract a crowd of more than 20,000 people.

Admission to this year’s festival is $2 for adults and children 12 and over, with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage Preserve — more than 100 acres of environmentally sensitive land on the east side of Cortez.

With limited parking in the village, organizers encourage use of the park-and-ride shuttle service.

Shuttles will be operating from the parking lot at Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island as well as from Cortez Commons, 5584 Cortez Road, Bradenton.

A round-trip on the shuttle will cost $2.

In the lineup

Organizers of the 28th annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival recently announced the entertainment lined up for the two-day celebration Feb. 20-21.

The talent includes:

Feb. 20 — 10 a.m., Richard Culbreath Group; 10:45 a.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 11 a.m., The Crackerbillys; 11:45 a.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 12:30 p.m., Richard Culbreath Group; 12:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 1 p.m., The Crackerbillys; 1:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 2 p.m., Soul R Coaster; 2:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 3 p.m., Richard Culbreath Group; 3:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 4 p.m., Soul R Coaster; 4:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 5 p.m., Richard Culbreath Group and 5:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers.

Feb. 21 — 10 a.m., Triad Folk Band;11 a.m., Manatee River Bluegrass Band; 11:45 a.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; noon, Richard Culbreath Group; 12:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 1 p.m., Manatee River Bluegrass Band; 1:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 2 p.m., The Wheedles; 2:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 3 p.m., Richard Culbreath Group; 3:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 4 p.m., The Wheedles; 4:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers; 5 p.m., Richard Culbreath Group and 5:45 p.m., Sunshine Express Cloggers.