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Villanova University Hosts 29th Annual Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival

Largest student-run Special Olympics event in the world returns November 10-12

Villanova University Hosts 29th Annual Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s (SOPA) Fall Festival will return to Villanova University for its 29th year from November 10-12 which will feature 6,000 volunteers to encourage and support 1,200 athletes and 400 coaches in six sports: bocce, long distance running/walking, powerlifting, roller skating, soccer, and volleyball. Events will take place on Villanova’s campus, The Agnes Irwin School, The Shipley School and Marple Sports Arena.

“We’re so excited to welcome all of the talented athletes, coaches and volunteers for this great weekend of events,” said Hannah Durnin, ’18, College of Nursing, Festival Director. “Fall Festival transforms the Villanova community; this weekend’s environment of positivity and inclusion sets an example that should be carried throughout the entire year. None of this would be possible without the support of our committee, all of the other students involved throughout the year, and most importantly, the athletes.”

The full weekend begins with the excitement of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which concludes its journey to campus at 3 p.m. Friday, November 10. Opening Ceremonies will follow at 7:30 p.m. Villanova Athletics will broadcast the Opening and Closing Ceremonies on their Facebook page via Facebook Live.

“Special Olympics Pennsylvania is grateful for the long standing partnership that we have had with Villanova University in planning, organizing and hosting our Fall Festival,” said Gina Reid, Senior Competition Director for Special Olympics Pennsylvania. “Our athletes look forward to this event all year. The energy and excitement generated by the students and staff at Villanova is unmatched. From the moment our athletes step foot on campus they are welcomed, embraced and celebrated as champions. The student committee and the Villanova community truly create a magical experience for our athletes.”

SOPA’s Fall Festival is regarded as the largest university student-run Special Olympics event in the world, led by a 90-member Special Olympics committee comprised entirely of students. Thousands of volunteers from the Villanova student body and the surrounding community are expected to participate in the event, serving in numerous capacities including as officials, athlete escorts, award presenters and administrative support services.

Volunteers from across the state are welcome and spectators are encouraged to visit any of the competition venues on or near campus to cheer on the athletes. For more information about volunteering, visit the official Villanova University Fall Festival website.

About Special Olympics Pennsylvania: Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) provides year-round training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports to nearly 20,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy. For more information, visit our web site at

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit