Sunday marks the two-month anniversary for the grand opening of the latest casino to our gaming landscape of Lake Michigan.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians opened their new casino, Four Winds Hartford, at 68600 Red Arrow Highway in Hartford, Mich., just 45 miles northeast of sister property Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., on Aug. 30. The New Buffallo property opened in 2007.
"Hartford is an area that is home to a large number of Pokagon Citizens and we are extremely proud to open a new Four Winds Casino here," said Matt Wesaw, chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
"Four Winds Hartford has created approximately 400 new jobs within the casino in addition to the hundreds of jobs that were created during construction. We look forward to welcoming area residents to our new facility."
I had the chance to visit the new property last month and Frank Freedman, assistant general manager, gave me a great tour of the new space, which is both intimate and elegant.
There's a great attention to detail, with plenty of nods to the tribe history and heritage. Look for motifs that accent everything from birds to cattails. One of my favorite features are the beautiful hanging amber glass light shades depicting swimming otters.
"When I first noticed the otters, I thought they were mistakenly upside down," Freedman said.
"But then I was told that's the way they are suppose to be, since otters swim on their backs."
Maintaining a similar look and feel in design and detail to Four Winds New Buffalo, the new property features 500 slot machines, nine table games including blackjack and roulette, a 100-seat restaurant called Timbers Fast Food and Deli.
From the smothered chili cheese fries and breaded dill pickles to the juiciest and most delicious giant gourmet hamburgers imaginable, there's no shortage of scrumptious menu items. Their colossal size cookies, both peanut butter and chocolate chip, are also fantastic.
Four Winds Hartford is also home to Four Winds Outfitters gift shop where guests can find Four Winds logo apparel, tribal artwork and other unique merchandise.
If you haven't made a trip to the new Hartford property, or even if you are over-due for a return visit to the original gaming space in New Buffalo, here's the scoop about the just announced November promotions:
• 2012 Lincoln MKT Crossover - - On Saturday, Nov. 26, drawings for the two 2012 Lincoln MKT Crossover SUVs will be at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. EST. And any W Club members at both Four Winds New Buffalo and Four Winds Hartford are eligible to win. Additionally, a share of $25,000 in cash will be given away to W Club members every hour between 2 p.m. and 11 p.m., including one winner of $10,000 at 2 p.m. W Club members can receive one free entry daily beginning on Saturday, Oct. 29 by visiting the W Club Players Club at either casino location. Players can earn additional entries by playing slots or table games with their W Club card. More information is available at the W Club inside both casino locations.
• Celebrate Thanksgiving at The Buffet - - The Buffet at Four Winds New Buffalo will feature a special Thanksgiving Day menu from 11 a.m. through 10 p.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 24. The menu will feature holiday favorites such as carved roasted turkey and ham, sage dressing, candied yams and pumpkin pie. Additionally, guests can feast on prime rib, shrimp, crab legs and a wide variety of homemade desserts. Entry into The Buffet is $28 per person, $18 for guests between 4 and 12 years-old and free for children 3 years-old and younger.
Adding to the excitement in our region and offering another entertainment option, Four Winds in New Buffalo also announced in August an expansion to their hotel property and plans for a 1,600-seat theater and events center, both to open next year.
A new nine-story hotel tower with 250 hotel rooms will be situated adjacent to the current hotel tower. It will contain a mix of suites and standard rooms and will be furnished in the same exquisite style as the current hotel rooms. Once the new hotel tower opens, there will be a total of 415 hotel rooms.
The multi-use event center will be located next to the casino and can be configured in a variety of ways, including the 1,600-seat entertainment space I'm told will feature concerts by "major headline acts." The space will also be available for a variety of special events, conferences and banquets.
"The expansion validates the continued success we have had at Four Winds Casino Resort," Wesaw said.
"The hotel expansion and event center also fulfill the vision we had for the property dating back to its original conception. The number one request that we received from our guests since opening was to add more hotel rooms. By adding 250 rooms, we'll be able to accommodate a larger number of guests, including those coming to the property for big name entertainment at our new event center."
For more information about Four Winds, including the New Buffalo and Hartford locations, visit fourwindscasino.com or call (866) 494-6371.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians' tribal recognition was restored and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in September 1994. The tribe's 10-county service area includes four counties in Southwest Michigan and six in Northwest Indiana. The Pokagon Band provides services including housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation to approximately 4,400 citizens of the tribe.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 852-4327.