Featherstone family moves away after making significant contributions to Manitoulin

The Featherstone family of Evansville, who will soon be leaving the Island, were honoured for all their efforts in volunteering with the Bluegrass in the Country Festival, and Manitoulin Special Olympics recently. From left is John, Pauline and Austin.

EVANSVILLE—The Featherstone family of Evansville has made a very significant and positive mark on Manitoulin Island and will definitely be missed by all those who knew them. From the work done by John and Pauline Featherstone creating and volunteering with the Bluegrass in The Country Festival, to their son Austin being a world class athlete in Manitoulin Special Olympics (MSO), the family has accomplished a lot over the years.

“We had a Bluegrass committee barbecue and meeting after this year’s event where we gave the family a gift from all of us,” said Janet Anning, coordinator of MSO. “We all know that Austin is a very good athlete, and our MSO team said goodbye to Austin at baseball practice (held in Mindemoya recently). It is hard to lose Austin as one  of our athletes and as a friend. He is a very special young man. And John, helped by Pauline. We will have big shoes to fill with the Bluegrass in the Country Festival, but we are working on it.”

“The whole family is going to be missed,” stated Ms. Anning,  noting the family is moving (with Austin having already moved to Manitoba for work), and parents scheduled to move in October.

John Featherstone told The Expositor that he and his wife, “will be moving sometime in October. The cattle I have been raising will go out sometime in September. Pauline has told the owners of Manitoulin Chocolate Works that she will be leaving her work after Thanksgiving.”

The family is moving to Manitoba, specifically the community of Wellwood. “We will  be closer to our son Clayton and the grandkids and next summer we will be drive to Nanuvik where Reilly lives, to visit him. It is time to retire.”

“We bought our first cottage on the Island in 2004 and moved to Evansville (permanently) in 2006,” said John Featherstone. “The Island, especially the people, has been really great to us. Austin was lost before he came here and then he became a hero (with MSO).”

“And the Bluegrass in the Country Festival will survive,” stated Mr. Featherstone, who was the lead organizer for the annual event. “It needs to change a bit. We took it as high as possible getting Claire Lynch to headline this year’s festival, but even with her featured at the event our attendance (overall for the weekend) was down from normal numbers,” he said, noting that part of the problem was the pandemic and the high cost of gas that cuts down on how much people want to travel.

 “More local musicians and more country music needs to be brought in for the festival,” said Mr. Featherstone. “Ben Lentir will take over as the quarterback for the festival.”

Austin has moved to Manitoba, where he has a job working on a 17,000 acre farm, owned by one of his brothers.

“We’re looking forward to the move,” said Mr. Featherstone. I got involved in the Island radio station (as Brother John), with the Bluegrass Festival, and my farm and mulching machine work. I’m 72 years old, and if my son Clayton needs me to drive the truck or help with the harvest on his farm, I can help out but I don’t want to get into anything full-time. Pauline is going to retire as well.”

“Our youngest grandson is nine and we want to spend more time with him and our other grandchildren,” said John. “We are definitely going to miss the Island, the people have been fantastic to all of us.”