MANATEE – The Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival is celebrating its 35th year this weekend.

The two-day gathering in the historic Cortez Village has plenty of Steamed clams, and bluegrass bands but it’s also got an eco-friendly bent.

It’s trying to raise some much needed funds for a restoration effort.

Volunteers from the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage or (FISH), the nonprofit organization for which the festival raises funds, are celebrating their biggest accomplishment, it’s just purchased the last outstanding land parcel in the middle of the 95 acres FISH Preserve.

The property is now completely unified and it can pursue even more restoration.

The cost was $185,000, so it’s as dependent as ever on revenue from the festival.

Want to help and have fun?

The Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Cortez Village; for more information go to