From Jack Thompson Shows to GoldStar Amusements

Below is a brief history (and photos) of how GoldStar Amusements grew into the business it is today.

John and Carl Flink – The Beginning

John and Carl Flink were pioneers in the carnival business in the Midwest in the early 1940’s. They operated a steam driven Merry-go-Round in various small towns in Minnesota.

Rose (Flink) Thompson – 2nd Generation

Rose Flink was introduced to the business through her father Andrew Flink. Apparently she traveled with her father and his brothers, John and Carl at some point in time. Around 1948-1950 she had a little carnival called Red River Valley Shows out of Pelican Rapids, MN. Her show traveled in Minnesota and the Dakota’s. Rose started her son Jack in the business when he turned 17. 

Jack G. Thompson – 3rd Generation

In 1952, Jack purchased his mother’s Chair-O-Plane for $1,500 and built his own popcorn wagon.  From 1952 to 1963 Jack traveled around and operated major rides as an independent ride operator with various shows. In 1957 Jack married Hope Haugen from Pillager, MN. Hope’s father, Ole Haugen, was the former president of Cass County Agricultural Society. Jack and Hope’s only child, Connie, was born in 1958. 

Jack Thompson Shows was firmly established in 1963 when Jack purchased all the rides and equipment from Jack Vomberg of Milwaukee. At that time the show traveled from the Canadian border to New Orleans. In an interview with the Amusment Business in 1974, Jack stated “in this business…the good will always survive.” He passed away on the last day of the 1986 season in New Orleans. His wife, Hope, passed away in 1991.

Connie (Thompson) Featherston – 4th Generation

Connie grew up in the business and continues still today. In the summer of 1976, just after graduating High School, Connie met Mike Featherston while he was working in a corn dog and Lemonade Shake-up stand. Jack continued to grow his business by purchasing an Amusement Park on the south side of Chicago called Fun Town and purchased Bob Hammond Shows. Mike and Connie managed the park a few years, during which they married (in 1979) and had their first child, Melissa, in 1980.  Fun Town was sold and Mike and Connie returned to Jack Thompson Shows on the road. They had their 2nd daughter, Jessica, in 1982 and their son, Michael, in 1986. Jack Thompson Shows was renamed to Gold Star Amusements in 1992. The shooting star logo and moto, “Our Lights Continue to Shine” is a representation of Jack and Hope still with the family and business in spirit. 

The Gold Star Kids – 5th Generation

Melissa, Jessica, and Michael Featherston all grew up in the business and all purchased their first rides at the age of 15.  They all married and are traveling together with their spouses and children with GoldStar Amusements.


The Gold Star Grand-Kids – 6th Generation

Parents: Melissa and Adriaan Erasmus - Natalie (age 9), Aiden (age 6)

Parents: Jessica and Timothy Bessette - Sophea (age 9), Leevi (age 6)

Parents: Michael and Kristen Featherston – Gracelynn (age 7), Jack (age 6), Rosalie (age 4), Lillian (age 1)