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Something's Fishy…the Cortez Fishing Festival!

cortez fishing festival posterLooking for fresh seafood, maritime history and lots of local charm? Come on out to the Cortez Fishing Festival on February 18th and 19th in Cortez fishing village. This time of year, there are various festivals every weekend, but this one seems to have a little more heart and soul than most. Celebrating their 30th anniversary, this festival not only raises money for a great cause, it’s also a whole lotta fun where you can hear some good music, stock up on local art and chow down on local fare. There’s no dress code, so come as you are, mingle with the resident fisher-folk and enjoy the best seafood on the coast…not the west coast of Florida, the entire east coast of the United States!
Cortez is famous for its mullet. We like it smoked, slathered with butter and served warm. After it’s smoked, we also like it mixed with cream cheese, a splash of hot sauce and served on Saltines. We like our shrimp fresh from the Gulf and we can’t live without Stone Crab Claws during this time of year. At this festival, you’ll get to try the real, local seafood that hasn’t been flown in from a far-away body of water and hasn’t been frozen for weeks on end. It’s been harvested by our friends – hardworking families who work the Cortez waterfront.
This is one of few fishing villages in the country that still survives and here’s why: F.I.S.H. – Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage. This a group committed to preserving the character and heritage of Florida’s traditional waterfront communities. This non-profit group, for which the festival’s proceeds benefit, has also conserved 100 acres of mangroves is adjacent to Cortez and is working hard to preserve more.
So, come on out to the fest and spend a day amongst fishing boats, gear, fish house and commercial fishermen. Enjoy some fine seafood and listen to some of the best local music around…and all for only $3! Kids under 12 are free, so bring all your little ones. If your kids are anything like my daughter, they’ll like Cortez as much as you do.
The Cortez Fishing Festival takes place on February 18th and 19th at 4600 124th St. West in Cortez. For more information and parking and the entertainment schedule, please visit