The event, Cortez Commercial Fishing Fest, is going to look significantly different this year. The 29th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival will still draw thousands of revelers to historic Cortez fishing village this weekend. Attendees of all ages will gather on the east, though, as opposed to the west end of the community, where the festival had been held for more than 20 years.
Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival Chair Linda Molto said that the first two festivals were at this location. She added that it has more space than it had before. It’s more spread out and hopes the crowds will spread out, too. She informed that the event takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Molto said that last year the event had an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people come over two days and are hoping for even more this year.
The festival grounds are adjacent to the FISH Preserve (95 acres of environmentally sensitive land along the Sarasota Bay shoreline). Fitting, considering all festival proceeds fund the purchase, expansion and restoration of the Preserve. New grounds include the Florida Maritime Museum, an excellent place to learn about the rich commercial fishing heritage of Cortez.