2022 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival – Food Vendors

Attached is the Food Vendor application to obtain a booth at the 2022 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival, February 19-20, 2022.

Please use the email address and phone number shown on the application for any question or inquiry.

2022 Food Vendor – Cover Letter and Application.pdf

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2022 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival – February 19-20, 2022

Attached is the application for any Artist who wants to obtain a booth at the 2022 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival, February 19-20, 2022.

Please use the email address and phone number shown on the application for any question or inquiry.

The Food Vendor application will be added as soon as it is available.


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A 65′ Mega bridge is coming to Cortez if we don’t STOP IT!

Hello FISH Member,

Well it has been a few months since our last email to our membership and now we feel the need to reach out and enlighten all our members on an issue that will have a significant impact on the Historic village of Cortez.

Many of you may know that for years we have been fighting the plans for a 65′ Fix Span High Rise Bridge. A Bridge that will split this community in two, requires a new Frontage Road for accessing Business by the water since this new structure will require a 20 ft high retaining wall be built 350′ to 400′ into the Village, thereby blocking access to a number of streets on the southside of Cortez Rd and 127th St on the Northside. Here is a picture of the new frontage road:

Per FDOT’s own admission there will be absolutely NO IMPROVEMENT to West Bound Traffic and the only improvement for those coming eastbound will be to those coming from LongBoat Key, they will be able to exit the island 1 minute 46 seconds faster than they do today!! Yeah, great idea to destroy this village and the safety of its residents for a 1minute 46 seconds!!

We have been Challenging this Bridge since March 2019 in Federal Court but now it is getting real. We had Court required Mediation on August 25th. Unfortunately though we offered to compromise on a new 35′ Bascule (Draw) Bridge, which would meet the needs of both the community and the needs of FDOT to replace a failing Bridge, FDOT didn’t budge and neither did we so now it is off to Court. We have hired an Attorney, in fact two for the price of one, to help us with this case. We truly believe that FDOT failed in several legal requirements needed to be completed before approving this atrocity! But now we need your support, both financially and by writing letters.

Here is a link to our Go Fund Me Page any donation will be greatly appreciated. Just Click here Stop the Mega Bridge Cortez

or here ; www.gofundme.com/f/stop-the-mega-bridge-from-devastating-cortez

If you want to contribute but don’t want to use the Go Fund Me page you are welcome to contribute by mailing a check to FISH PO Box 606, Cortez, FL 34215 Please place "Bridge Fund" on the Memo line of your check.

Please write to FDOT District #1 Secretary LK Nandam ask him to compromise with citizens in accepting the 35′ DrawBridge.

Address your comments to: Honorable Sec. L.K. Nandam Email: l.nandam or Mail to: 801 N. Broadway Ave., Bartow, FL 33830 Phone: 863-519-2201

1st and foremost speak from the heart.

1. Ask FDOT to compromise and build the 35’ Bascule (draw) Bridge. a.) It meets the goal of FDOT to replace a functionally failing bridge b.) it also meets the needs of the two communities and their residents most impacted by the physical structure, Cortez and Bradenton Beach.

2. You can talk about the flooding and the building and increasing hard structures in the Floodplain. The impacts of 12′-20′ walls and our fear of what happens to properties adjacent to these very high walls if there were a storm surge, especially Cortez Park. All their structures are on the ground, nothing is elevated.

3. Also the view shed and light pollution impacts that will be had when this 65′ Bridge is built. Remember the true road-deck height is 75′ NOT 65′

4. Finally the impact this Bridge will have on the Historic Village of Cortez. We are not talking Impacts to the physical structures, but the Culture, Industry and citizens that have called this Historic Village HOME for over 132 years!

This is so important, please help in any way you can. If you have friends who might not be members of FISH but would oppose this horrible bridge and the damage it will do please forward this to them. You are welcome to cut and paste the Go Fund Me Link to your Social Media Pages (FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram ect…) Here it is again:


Thanks and lets take care of what we have for it is slowly slipping away!


Jane von Hahmann


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A Mega Bridge is coming to Cortez!!!

You are invited to an Informational Town Hall meeting hosted by FISH where we will be discussing FDOT’s (Florida Dept of Transportation) decision to replace our present 17′ Drawbridge with a 65 foot fixed span bridge. Meeting: Thursday August 12th 7 PM
Where: Fishermens’ Hall 4511 124th St W Cortez, 34215
See Flyer below PLEASE Share!

Sent from my iPad

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Albert Few Jr.

Albert Few died in Bradenton, FL, on June 29, 2021. Albert was born in Bradenton, FL on June 9, 1921. Reared in commercial fishing Village of Cortez and was a winter visitor there from 1976 to 1998. He was a resident of Bradenton Westminster Towers since 1998.

Graduated Bradenton High School in 1939 and attended Florida Southern College at Lakeland. He was a WWII decorated combat fighter pilot. Veteran of the United States Army Air Corps. In the air he flew over North Africa, Pantelleria, Sicily and Italy. Graduated from University of Alabama (Roll Tide) with a BS degree in aeronautical engineering.

He was a past member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and was a FAA certified flight instructor in the general aviation community. Employed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at Langley Air Force Base, Hampton, VA. As an aeronautical research engineer from 1948 to 1956 he published numerous papers and research memorandums on the stability and performance characteristics of aircraft and missiles obtained from extensive wind tunnel investigations at subsonic and supersonic speeds.

Retired in 1976 as a NASA supervisory aerospace engineer serving in most notable programs as SATURN APOLLO lunar launch vehicle and SPACE SHUTTLE vehicle aerodynamic design at the Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL under Dr. Von Braun. He was awarded the Marshall Center Director’s Commendation for outstanding leadership and dedicated service to the space shuttle aerodynamic design program.

He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and the Alabama Emmaus community.

He was predeceased in death by his first wife, Clara Elizabeth Makiu Few and his second wife, Ruth E. Toiniclek Few. He is survived by his son, William T. Few of Largo, FL; daughter, Elizabeth F. Booth as well as granddaughter, Camille and great-grandson, Henry Middleton of Jacksonville, FL.

The family will receive friends Friday July 2, 2021 from 11:30AM to 12:30PM with Services commencing at 12:30PM. He will be laid to rest at 2:00PM at Manasota Memorial Park with final honors by the U.S. Air Force.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Tidewell Hospice or First United Methodist Church.
Funeral arrangements by Shannon Funeral Homes. Condolences made at www.shannonfuneralhomes.com.

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FISH stymied, seeking revenue to replace festival income

by Kane Kaiman | Be the first to comment


thumb image Marlin Ellis of the Blue Marlin Seafood Restaurant in Bradenton Beach weighs stone crab claws at the February 2020 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival in Cortez. Islander File Photo

Time to get creative.

Members of the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage — a nonprofit group focused on maintaining Cortez’s commercial fishing culture — met Jan. 18 to brainstorm fundraising ideas in the wake of the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival’s cancellation.

Ideas included a boat raffle, T-shirt sales and ad campaigns.

The festival usually takes place in February but was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. The proceeds from the annual event are FISH’s primary source of income.

The group has enough funding to cover its overhead this year and put on the 2022 festival, said FISH board member Jane von Hahmann.

However, the group could find itself in a difficult situation if the money is exhausted.

“We have the funds to do the festival again, but we don’t even know what our festival will look like the next time it happens,” von Hahmann said. “There is an arduous COVID festival process — masks, social distancing, transportation. And all of our volunteers are older. So what happens to our workforce? We want to protect them.”

Inclement weather also poses a threat to festival profitability and has led to lean budgetary cycles.

With such uncertainty, FISH is motivated to pull in whatever revenue it can in 2021.

Von Hahmann said the group plans to increase community outreach and develop online donations.

In years past, festival revenue facilitated the purchase of land to create a 100-acre preserve east of the fishing village. A piece of the budgetary equation is paying off the mortgage on the “doughnut hole,” land in the center of the preserve that FISH acquired separately in 2016.

FISH also must pay down the mortgage on Fishermen’s Hall — a former church the group uses for meetings, office space and rental space for weddings and other events at 4515 124th St. W.

Another major expense is the insurance on the hall and the preserve.

FISH relies on donations, volunteers and fiscal responsibility to operate.

“We don’t have a single paid person, no paid staff,” von Hahmann said. “It’s the only thing that’s allowed us to stay alive.”

FISH began saving its pennies in 2010 and money for 2021 expenses and the next festival will come from a reserve fund.

FISH’s focus is to protect the preserve, a site that has bordered an important fishery for hundreds of years. The site was threatened by development until the group intervened.

FISH recording secretary Karen Bell estimated about 40% of residents south of Cortez Road in the village rely on commercial fishing. For them, development would have been devastating, as preservation means more fish in Sarasota Bay.

“The preserve is one of the few remaining mangrove forests left in Sarasota Bay,” said Bell, who owns AP Bell Fish Co., Star Fish Co. Market and Restaurant and a share of Tide Tables Restaurant. “There are 70 acres of mangrove that protect juvenile fish. So it’s really important to the bay and to the Gulf as a whole.”

Since making the final payment on the preserve in 2005, FISH’s main priority has been restoring the land to its natural state.

Securing funds for the project has been a long and tedious battle, said von Hahmann.

“It’s very expensive to do restoration on 100 acres of land — things like land contouring, cutting new channels, removing mosquito ditches and construction waste,” von Hahmann said. “We’re environmental; we’re taking care of land. And that’s harder to get funded.”

To achieve restoration goals, FISH has partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Southwest Florida Water Management District and Manatee County government.

Though there is uncertainty about revenue sources, von Hahmann is confident FISH will find a way.

“As a village that has been around for 135 years, we Cortezians definitely know how to persevere,” she said.

People interested in donating can send checks to FISH, P.O. Box 606, Cortez FL 34215.

The preserve can be accessed from two locations.

There is a pedestrian path from the Cortez Cultural Center, 11655 Cortez Road. Or visitors can park in the lot adjacent to Cortez Kitchen and cross a footbridge on foot at the south end of 119th Street West.

Sent from my iPad

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Michael John Northfield

Michael John Northfield, 81, of Cortez, died Sept. 28.

He was born Sept. 29, 1938, in London, England, and moved to Canada with his wife, Caroline Northfield, in 1960, where they had four children.

He and his wife spent most of their time in Florida since his retirement from Ontario Hydro in the late 1980s.

He was a trained chemist and worked in the nuclear industry in the United Kingdom and enjoyed a successful career at Ontario Hydro, running the environmental division before retirement.

Mr. Northfield had a varied career outside of that, working in Florida as a real estate agent and investor, a property manager in addition to a slew of volunteer activities, including a stint as the president of a local Rotary Club chapter and involvement in the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage in Cortez.

The FISH board of directors will hold a celebration of life outdoors at Fishermens’ Hall, 4511 124th St. W., Cortez, 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1. Anyone who knew Mr. Northfield, who was a Rotarian on Anna Maria Island and those who worked with Island Vacation Properties is welcome to attend.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, mask wearing is requested and those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to Jane von Hahmann at 941-794-0043.

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COVID scuttles fishing festival

Cindy Lane

October 5, 2020

COVID scuttles fishing festivalThe Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage decided unanimously tonight to cancel the 39th annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival next February due to COVID-19. – Cindy Lane | Sun

CORTEZ – The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) board decided unanimously tonight to cancel the 39th annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival next February due to COVID-19.

The two-day festival, a fundraiser for FISH and its primary project, the FISH Preserve, draws thousands of people each year to the snug north end of the historic fishing village of Cortez.

“Due to the uncertainties, we feel we have to be responsible, however, we’re going to work on a possible scaled-down alternative,” said John Stevely, one of the founders of the festival.

COVID scuttles fishing festivalJohn Stevely, one of the festival’s original organizers, was among those deciding to cancel the 2021 fishing festival Monday night. – Cindy Lane | Sun

The entrance to the festival is at the Florida Maritime Museum on 119th Street, which leads to a fish house and restaurant complex on Sarasota Bay with one main route in and out.

Once inside, people line up to sample seafood from dozens of food vendors, a challenge for social distancing, as is the possibility of monitoring whether only family groups are sitting together to eat at tables for eight to 10 people. In addition, “There are so many who would refuse to wear a mask outdoors,” Stevely said.

Other considerations were whether FISH could obtain a permit for the event, the health risk to 200 or so volunteers in their 60s, and whether the event could turn a profit if the number of participants was limited. The FISH board has historically been reluctant to raise the original $2 entrance fee, which, after 38 years, is now $5.

“We’ll come back with enthusiasm and we will get through these times,” Stevely said. “2022 will be bigger and better.”

Seafood is the main event at the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival. – Cindy Lane | Sunhttps://www.amisun.com/2020/10/05/covid-scuttles-fishing-festival/

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FISH considers landscaping changes to Cortez preserve


by Ryan Paice

thumb image FISH board members Kaye Bell, Angela Collins, Tim Caniff, Linda Molto and Karen Bell discuss potential changes July 6 to the FISH Preserve.

The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage has more changes in store for its nature preserve.

FISH board members met July 6 to discuss the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s proposed changes to the FISH preserve, including the removal of dead Australian pine and Brazilian pepper trees, as well as the addition of trees.

FISH, a nonprofit with a mission to protect the village’s commercial fishing and maritime cultures, purchased the 100-acre preserve — located between the Florida Maritime Museum and Paradise Bay Estates — in 2000 and has worked with the FWC to reshape the land and restore its ecology.

Part of the restoration included the removal of 97 Australian pine trees and Brazilian pepper trees, but the FWC only removed 50 after killing the plants with herbicide.

Many of the 47 dead trees stand to provide shelter to birds and other wildlife, but some remain slated for removal.

Board member Jane von Hahmann told the board that FWC restoration project manager Corey Anderson proposed removing five dead trees using FWC funds, but she asked him to remove 9-10 trees instead and he seemed receptive to the request.

FWC also provided FISH with preliminary plans to plant up to 24 new trees, including gumbo limbos, but FISH members did not determine a layout for the new landscaping at the meeting.

Instead, vice president David Cadmus proposed a meeting with Anderson to visit the preserve and discuss potential landscaping changes. He said they could get a better idea for additions in person.

Von Hahmann told The Islander the nonprofit’s goal is to improve the area for public use, as well as use the land to host local school field trips about nature and the environment.

However, she said restoration work, as well as landscaping, may take three years to complete.

The public can access the preserve from the Cortez Culture Center, 11655 Cortez Road W., Cortez, via an entrance behind the Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W., or an access point along the south side of Cortez Road east of the culture center.

FISH elects new board member, reelects 4 incumbents

A new face has joined the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage board in Cortez.

FISH members voted Cortez resident Steve Baker onto the board June 5 to succeed Rose Lipke, an artist who has chaired the nonprofit’s annual fishing festival but did not seek reelection.

Four incumbent board members — David Cadmus, Tim Caniff, Linda Molto and John Stevely — were reelected without opposition.

The five board members will serve three-year terms.

FISH, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving commercial fishing and maritime cultures as well as the coastal environment, has about 200 members.

Members also appointed their officer positions, including treasurer, secretary, vice president and president.

President Kim McVey, treasurer Mike Northfield and secretary Karen Bell retained their positions without opposition.

The FISH vice presidency, however, changed hands, as Jane von Hahmann did not seek reelection to that position.

Members elected David Cadmus, the only nominee, to the post.

— Ryan Paice

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DAR recognizes Cortez women with awards

Cindy Lane – Anna Maria Island Sun

March 16, 2020

DAR recognizes Cortez women with awardsFrom left, Robin Schoch, accepting an award for Mary Fulford Green, award winners Linda Molto and Jane von Hahmann, and Manatee Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution Regent Kathy Doddridge. – Cindy Lane | Sun

CORTEZ – Three Cortez women, local historian Dr. Mary Fulford Green, artist Linda Molto and former Manatee County Commissioner Jane von Hahmann, were honored on Friday by the Manatee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, based in Anna Maria.

The March awards highlight both Manatee History Month and Women’s History Month in recognizing women’s contributions to the preservation of the historic fishing village of Cortez, according to Manatee Chapter DAR Regent Kathy Doddridge, who presented the awards at the Kirby Stewart American Legion Post in Bradenton.

The trio are “ordinary women who have achieved extraordinary things,” she said.

Dr. Mary Fulford Green

The DAR National Historic Preservation Recognition Award was awarded to Dr. Mary Fulford Green, who was unable to attend for health reasons.

DAR recognizes Cortez women with awards

Dr. Mary Fulford Green, dressed as her grandmother during a history talk she gave recently at the Cortez Cultural Center, was awarded the DAR Historic Preservation Recognition Award. – Cindy Lane | Sun

Doddridge detailed highlights of her life. Born in Cortez in 1925, Green is the granddaughter of 1887 Cortez settlers William Thomas Fulford and Sallie Adams of Carteret County, North Carolina, whose Cortez home Fulford lives in.

She was valedictorian of her 1942 Bradenton High School class (now Manatee High School) and earned a B.A. in science, M.A. in chemistry and Ph.D. in education from Florida State College for Women (now Florida State University) in Tallahassee.

She was a founder of Hope Family Services in 1979 and served as president of Manatee County’s Mental Health Association for seven years.

Green was instrumental in establishing the Cortez Village Historical Society (CVHS) in 1984 and in getting the village of Cortez on the south side of Cortez Road on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

With fellow award-winner Linda Molto, Green wrote “Cortez – Then and Now” in 1997; they also produced the Walking Tour Map of the Cortez Fishing Village.

Robin Schoch, who accepted the award for Green, said that Green has also worked on successfully opposing a 65-foot-tall bridge from Cortez to Anna Maria Island, a proposed marina development in the village, and the proposed purchase of the Cortez Trailer Park.

Linda Molto

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Cortez artist Linda Molto also received a National Historic Preservation Recognition Award.

She moved to Florida in 1965 and purchased a 1920s home in Cortez village, next to the parsonage of the Church of God. When the parsonage was slated for demolition in 1992, she protested at a CVHS meeting, joined the group and remains an active member.

Molto worked with Green on obtaining National Register of Historic Places status for Cortez.

She has served on the board of FISH (Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage) since its inception in 1991, and was instrumental in purchasing land east of Cortez village to create the FISH Preserve. She organized the Cortez Historic Homes Tour in 2004-05 to help pay for preserve property.

Molto is currently involved in protesting the proposed 65-foot-tall bridge from Cortez to Anna Maria Island.

Molto showed the DAR group a piece of artwork she created of the first person she met in Cortez, a young boy selling mangos for 2 cents each.

Cortez is “a place that you don’t see anymore, where it feels like home,” she said.

While residents have their differences, above all, they are neighbors who are there for each other, she said.

Jane von Hahmann

FISH board member and former Manatee County Commissioner Jane von Hahmann was presented the DAR Community Service Award for her longstanding support for FISH.

Established in 1991, FISH sponsors the annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival, which provides funds to restore, maintain and enlarge the 98-acre FISH Preserve.

This year, the festival netted about $60,000, von Hahmann told the group, close to last year’s net, and attracted more than 20,000 people over the two-day event in February. She has been the co-chair of the festival for the past nine years.

FISH has removed invasive plant species from the preserve, planted native vegetation and created tidal channels.

Outside the preserve, FISH projects include the restoration of the 1890 Burton Store, turning the Church of God into Fishermen’s Hall, renovating the FISH Boatworks and the Cortez firehouse and more.

Von Hahmann also has volunteered with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and opposed large developments including Aqua on the Bay and the 65-foot-tall bridge proposed from Cortez to Anna Maria Island.

Cortez has been battling encroachment for 135 years, von Hahmann told the group, adding, “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.”


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