KwaTaqNuk rings in New Year with a bang and a laugh

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The folks at KwaTaqNuk Resort threw one heck of a party to help Polson welcome the New Year last week. In fact, it was worthy of the new decade.

Bookings came in from locals and across Montana, and even a few from out-of-state, to enjoy an evening of celebration at the lake. Despite dreary rain early in the evening, the “joint” was hoppin’ by midnight.

Some came to gamble — the casino was packed. Some came for the comedy show, and definitely got their money’s worth. The “surf and turf” dinner brought overflow crowds to the Falling Waters Restaurant and it seemed many kids came for the pool.

The delightful midnight fireworks display was so intense it seemed like 17 minutes of grand finale. Couples hugged by the warming fire, kids gazed in amazement and fans hooted from the casino balcony as the colorful explosions lit up the night sky.

Booked by Marketing Director Donna Richard, the comedy show was a real crowd-pleaser. In a close-knit setting, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. Ticket holders were treated to an impressive, top-shelf performance from a nationally touring team, led by Jimmie “JJ” Walker — yes, that JJ Walker of the 70s “Good Times” TV show (Dy-No-Mite!). Walker was as engaging in a Polson club as he is on stage with David Letterman or the many other giants he has shared the stage with over the last four-plus decades.

Willie Tyler, the Motown crooning ventriloquist many have seen on YouTube, played straight man to his wise guy, “Lester,” including a sweet duet of “Stand By Me.” The legendary Bob Zany, with his signature cigar and ridiculous props, succeeded in charming and offending almost everyone at the same time, one of his trademarks. He made sure the town of Polson didn’t feel left out of his wisecracks.

“I went to the Rusty Razor for a shave and a tetanus shot. And I stopped into an antique store — Sears,” were among some of his jokes.

Richard was happy with how the event turned out.

“I was blown away by the fireworks and equally blown away by comedian show,” she said. “I loved hearing how happy people were with it.”

“We had a lot more people come for the party than we expected,” General Manager Sheila Matt added. “They have had comedy and bands before, but it had been a long time since they had done fireworks. It was great to see old friends, from Browning, the Bitterroot, all over.”

The event may be the start of a new tradition for many as the KwaTaqNuk says several folks already booked rooms for next year after seeing the fireworks show.

“We appreciate everyone who came and spent New Years with us,” Matt said.

Both Richard and Matt say they have lots more fun and entertainment in store for the future.

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