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Weekend Adventures in Bradenton: February 15-17, 2013


BRADENTON -- There will be plenty of festival and nature-based thrills, and even some chills to go around this weekend. The annual Cortez Fishing Festival will be rocking with live music, great seafood, and plenty of other entertainment for the whole family. A scenic wagon tour of Robinson Preserve will be offered on Saturday. On a more serious note, "The 99", a giant weeklong walk-through production that will provide a startling but reality-based look at the leading causes of death for young people in America, will start on Friday. Get festive or bird-watchful, get out and enjoy some of the best natural wonders that Manatee County has to offer, or get educated - it's time for a Weekend Adventure in Bradenton!

Are you familiar with 'old' Florida? Are you someone who can appreciate a different perspective on what’s important in life? Are you willing to spend a day amongst fishing boats, gear, fish houses and commercial fishermen? If any of this sounds intriguing, it might be a good idea for you to come to the 31st Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival. This two-day event will be held Saturday and Sunday, February 16-17, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 6 PM.

The Festival will feature great live music, nautical arts and crafts, children’s activities, environmental exhibits, more seafood than imaginable and, of course, beer. You’ll also want


to purchase one of the festival T-shirts which are designed each year reflecting a commercial fishing theme.

Listen to Cortez's Florida Florida Folk Heritage Award winner, the late Julian "Goose" Culbreath play Granny Will Your Dog Bite. Goose was a regular at the Fishing Festival up until his death in 2003. 

Admission is $3.00 for adults and children under 12 free. To find Cortez Village on a map, locate Bradenton which is about 50 miles south of Tampa. Find State Road 684, known locally as Cortez Road or 44th Avenue, and go west to the beaches.

Every year there is a something new at the Festival. Festival goers will want to note that there is a remote parking area in west Bradenton. You can avoid the traffic and enjoy the bus ride with your friends to the Festival ($2.00 round trip). The new parking site is located at G. T. Bray Park (5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W., Bradenton, 34209).  Just turn east off of 59th St. onto 33rd Ave. W. You can’t miss it.

As in past years, this same shuttle service is being provided from the remote parking area located at Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island. Island folks can take the free trolley to the parking site.

Also, the parking area just east of the village off of Cortez Road has been expanded again this year. But get there early or later in the day as this parking area tends to fill up quickly. Parking spots open up later in the day.

Another option is to park in the western part of town. Many folks manage small parking areas throughout the village with some charging a fee depending on how close they are to the village.

Residents and visitors can support the FISH Preserve by attending the festival. The Preserve (95 acres of habitat along the Sarasota Bay shoreline picture right) lies immediately adjacent to the historic fishing village of Cortez. A major milestone in efforts to restore the FISH Preserve will be reached this year. Within approximately six months earth moving equipment will be sculpting parts of the property to create new fisheries and wildlife habitat. New shallow lagoons and mangrove wetland habitat will support juvenile fish and a variety of wildlife, a dream come true that Cortez residents have waited since the purchase of the Preserve in 2000.

31st Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

Saturday, February 9, 10am-5pm

Sunday, February 10, 10am-4pm

Cortez Fishing Village

4415 119th Street West


De Soto National Memorial will be a host location for the Great Backyard Bird Count on Saturday, February 16th. The event will start at 7:00 am and will continue until noon. This time frame should cover a very active time of the day.

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent and in Hawaii. These numbers help to determine the health of a variety of bird populations. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts, it is free, fun, and easy, plus it helps the birds.

Participants will be allowed to pick a location within the Park and participate for 15 minutes or as long as they wish during the five-hour period and are not required to show up exactly at 7:00 am. They will record species and numbers counted. All findings will be collected and the information will be added to an online checklist on the GBBC web site. 

Participants will be able to go online to see what has been reported from the Park or anywhere in the United States and Canada. Participants may also send in photographs of the birds they see.

This will be the third time hosting a GBBC at De Soto and a great opportunity to discover the natural history of the Park as well as visiting our Living History programs which will be in progress at this time. This should be an attractive event for bird watchers and photographers alike. Quality photos have the possibility of being posted on a National web site for all to see. Participants should bring their own binoculars and a folding lawn chair.

Please contact Chuck Oshaben at 941-792-0458 ext 104 or by emailing charles_oshaben@nps.gov for any further Park GBBC information, or go to www.Birdcount.org for National and Audubon information.

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Saturday, February 16, 7am-noon

De Soto National Memorial

8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy


Robinson Preserve

Roll through Robinson Preserve in a covered wagon! Your naturalist tour guide will explain the preserve's history, resident wildlife, fabulous flowers, and describe preserve highlights. One 60-minute trip will be taken during the day. Program suitable for all ages. Reservations will not be taken for this tour.

Seats will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please call 941-742-5757 ext. 1 for more information. 

Wagon Tour of Robinson Preserve

Saturday, February 16, 10am

Robinson Preserve

1704 99th Street Northwest


According to the CDC, each day an average of 99 young people die in the United States. 31 young people will die today from auto-related accidents, 16 from domestic violence or

clientuploads/Weekend Adventures/99.jpg

homicide, 12 will commit suicide today, and the remaining will die from poor choices, diseases and natural causes. The 99 is a walk-through reality theater focusing on the leading causes of death to young people in our country. 

The production is housed in a 20,000 sq. ft. air-structure and features 13 rooms each portraying real-life situations where guests will experience a 45-minute guided tour. The production is not based on fear and scare tactics, but rather solely on the realities of today's world. 

"The 99" bills itself as the ultimate near death experience – a life changing production that will bring people to a point of decision that can change the course of their lives forever. The event is open to the public for four consecutive weekends; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, February 15th, 16th, 17th, 22nd 23rd, 24th, March 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th, and 10th of 2013 for a total of 12 nights. 

Doors are open 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The 99’s location is at the intersection of State Road 70 and Lockwood Ridge in Bradenton, Florida in the parking lot of the old Winn Dixie. Due to the graphic nature of this presentation, no one under 11 will be permitted. For more information or to purchase an advance ticket for only $3, visit the 99 website.

"The 99"

February 15, 17, 17, 22, 23, 24; March 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 7pm - 11pm

Old Winn Dixie Parking Lot

Intersection of SR 70 and Lockwood Ridge



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