STILL COUNTING ON LUCK

North Star celebrates its 27th anniversary
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Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski North Star Mohican Casino Resort general manager Michael Bonkadar, center, cuts into a cake for the resort’s 27th anniversary Thursday, flanked by some of his other management staff. From left, Terrance Miller, Tammy Wyrobeck, Kirsten Holland and Brian Denney.

The North Star Mohican Casino Resort celebrated another year of success Thursday afternoon with a party for its 27th anniversary.

The casino cooked up some burgers and brats for visitors to the casino, and musical entertainment keep couples dancing and patrons enthused as they enjoyed their meals, complete with anniversary cakes. Patrons got to spin wheels for prizes and received free T-shirts.

The spread was designed to support North Star’s claim of being the friendliest casino in the Midwest.

“We have one of the friendliest casinos here, as you can see,” said Michael Bonkadar, North Star’s general manager. “This is really just a way for us to give back to the community, having a great barbecue. We’ve done it for the last several years, and it’s been very, very popular.”

More than 200 people were enjoying the festivities just in the first hour of the celebration, with lines continuing to form.

Bonkadar has managed North Star for the last three years, and he believes a combination of things have come together to keep the business alive for so long.

“The community supports us, and so do our customers,” Bonkadar said. “Our friendly staff works here day in and day out, and they’ve done an amazing job for many, many years.”

Even with the disadvantage of not being along a state highway like Menominee Casino Resort and Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg, North Star has its faithful and loyal casino guests and hotel visitors.

“I’ve talked with a few customers, and some travel quite a bit to be here,” Bonkadar said. “They believe North Star is a premier property and destination that offers quality entertainment. We’re glad that they go out of their way to be here.”

The casino first opened its doors to the public on May 8, 1992. Today, the casino operates a 129-room hotel and over 1,200 slot machines, table games and Bingo. North Star also has a number of top name performers performing at its entertainment venue each year.

“It’s just been amazing. Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, we just had Cheap Trick,” Bonkadar said. “We have Charlie Pride coming, and the Mavericks. There’s just a lot of top entertainers, and the way I see, we’re just the capital of entertainment for this area of Wisconsin. How great it is that they come here.”

Bonkadar said that he and his staff look for new things to bring to North Star to continue to bring people through its doors, but he didn’t list any specifics on what was being planned for the future.