WOONSOCKET – A North Smithfield resident who owns one of Woonsocket’s most successful businesses has been named the 2021 Grand Marshal of the 43rd Autumnfest celebration.
Jennifer Jolicoeur, founder and president of Athena’s Home Novelties, was informed last week that she had been selected for the honor by the Autumnfest Steering Committee.
“Jennifer is a perfect example of one of our community heroes,” said Autumnfest Steering Committee General Chairperson Garrett Mancieri. “Not only did she make her dream come true by building up a successful business but she did it in the face of adversity and overcame that to make it successful. She also exemplifies what it is to be a role model who gives more than receives and loves helping others. She goes above and beyond to give back to the community and that is a true example of what we are looking for in a Grand Marshal.”
Jolicoeur started Athena’s Home Novelties on April 1, 1998, some 23 years ago, creating one of the most successful companies in Woonsocket. The business currently has more than 1,000 sales representatives operating in 44 states across the country.
Jolicoeur has been involved with Autumnfest for many years as a long time sponsor of the festival, vendor in business showcase, and overall promoter of the organization.
In October of 2019, she led a successful community building experience called “The Athena’s Cup” which achieved a world record for the longest chain of bras in the world as well as brought awareness to breast cancer. Through her leadership, the company and Jolicoeur herself have been involved and donated to many worthy causes including: Sojourner House, CCF, March of Dimes, Woonsocket Adopt-a-Family, Hearts with Hope, Gloria Gemma, Relay for Life, Milk Fund, and countless others, according to a release from the committee.
The Autumnfest tradition is to surprise the Grand Marshal recipient with the announcement. This year, Athena’s was holding their annual meeting at their headquarters on Winter Street in Woonsocket on Thursday, April 1 when Mancieri and members of the committee and local officials showed up to announce the news.
Jolicoeur reacted to the news this week on social media
“I am blown away. I was so happy, I thought my heart was going to explode,” said Jolicoeur. “I’m stunned. It took a lot for me to stop crying.”
Jolicoeur will be honored at the Autumnfest Kick Off Event which will be held in September. Stay tuned to the Autumnfest website (www.autumnfest.org) and the Facebook page (RIAutumnfest) for more information on how to purchase tickets. We congratulate Jennifer Jolicoeur on this nomination and cannot wait to see her and her family in our parade on Columbus Day!