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Villanova University Hosts 30th Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival

Special Olympics Fall Festival

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s (SOPA) Fall Festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary at Villanova University from November 2-4, 2018. The annual event 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, Marple Sports Arena and The Shipley School.

The weekend begins with the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which starts at XFINITY Live! in South Philadelphia and concludes its journey to campus at 3 p.m. Friday, November 2.

The ceremony will include a special 20-minute Unified Exhibition between the Villanova Wildcats Men’s Basketball team and Special Olympics basketball athletes. The game will take place between 8-8:30 p.m., with a five-minute halftime Dunk Show in between. Additional live entertainment and special guests include the Villanova Cheer Spirit Line, Special Olympics International’s Chief Inspiration Officer Loretta Claiborne and ESPN anchor, Michele Steele. Opening Ceremonies will conclude with the lighting of the Olympic Torch to signify the official start of the Games.

SOPA’s Fall Festival is regarded as the largest university student-run Special Olympics event in the world, led by a nearly 100-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.

There will be a 10-minute fireworks ceremony at the Riley Ellipse at 7:15, prior to the Athlete dance on Saturday, November 3rd. The dance will take place at Finneran Pavilion and is open to competing athletes only. Doors open at 7 p.m. The dance will begin at 7:30 and ends at 9:30 p.m.

Closing Ceremonies will be held in the Finneran Villanova Pavilion on November 4th at 1 p.m. and feature appearances by Special Olympics athletes representing USA for the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

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 M. Louise Fitzpatrick 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