Changing Tides: The 37th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

Cortez Fishing Village
Cortez represents one of the last true working waterfronts in Florida. This historic fishing village supplies seafood to consumers near and far and is an integral part of the state’s economy.

Another year has come and gone…and still the party carries on…
Music, art and seafood galore will be served to thousands along the shore.

This is the refrain that has been used by the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) to announce the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival for years – and it is an apt description for an annual celebration of one of Florida’s last remaining working waterfronts.

Settled by fishermen from North Carolina in the 1800s, Cortez has never stopped fishing. The circumstances (and the view from their docks) have changed through time, but this hard working community continues to adapt and stay admirably afloat through changing tides.

This is a party with a purpose.

The persistence and determination of Cortezians is evident in this annual Festival, which has been going for 37 years strong. The event is organized entirely by a fleet of dedicated volunteers. Every penny that the Festival earns is put right back into the community and supports the FISH Preserve. This 95+ acre parcel of land borders the east end of Cortez Village and is the last stretch of undeveloped waterfront property left on Sarasota Bay.

Get a taste of REAL Florida.

Come on out February 16 & 17 to celebrate a real working waterfront community dedicated to preserving their fishing way of life. Boogie to live local music, peruse aisles of original artwork, sip a fun beverage and sample some really tasty seafood. Stroll around one of the oldest fishing villages in the state, which is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Check out the Florida Maritime Museum and the Cortez Cultural Center, which are steeped in history of the region. Visit the touch tanks on the loading docks at Killer Bait and feed your science side during the “Dock Talks,” educational spiels put on by Florida Sea Grant throughout the Festival.

2019 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival Details:

This party with a purpose has something for everyone. Admission is only $4 and kids under 12 are free.

When: February 16th& 17th, 10am-6pm
Where: 4415 119th St. W., Cortez, FL 34215.
Admission $4.00, kids under 12 free.
More Info: 2019 Festival or


Posted: January 23, 2019

Category: Coasts & Marine
Tags: Cortez, Festivals, Fisheries, Florida Sea Grant

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories