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Special Olympics PA and Villanova University Celebrate 34th Annual Fall Festival


VILLANOVA, Pa.–Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s Fall Festival returns to Villanova University November 4-6, 2022. The event, which brings together more than 1,200 athletes, coaches and 3,000 volunteers, is regarded as the largest university student-run Special Olympics event in the world. Fall Festival is in its 34th consecutive year and is marked by competitions in bocce, flag football, long-distance running/walking, powerlifting, roller skating, soccer and volleyball. The event is led by Villanova University's Special Olympics Committee and assisted by Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA).

This year’s theme, "When rooted together, we grow even better," aims to highlight the value of connection and togetherness in fostering growth. Participants are encouraged to recognize and celebrate growth through collaboration, whether that be on campus, or long after the weekend is over.

The competitions kick off on Friday, November 4, with events in long-distance running/walking, bocce, flag football, soccer, powerlifting and volleyball. Roller skating will begin on Saturday, November 5. Opening Ceremonies will be held in the William B. Finneran Pavilion on November 4. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event is open to the public. A complete schedule of the Fall Festival can be found here.

The weekend will also offer Healthy Habits interactive education stations, an “Olympic Town” that provides athlete activities in-between sporting events and a Victory Jamboree. The Closing Ceremonies will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the Jake Nevin Field House on November 6.

“For 34 years, Villanova has hosted Special Olympics of Pennsylvania’s Fall Invitational. The event unites athletes, the Villanova community, and volunteers in the mission of inclusion,” says Karoline Menze, Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival 2022 Director, “Students on Villanova’s campus work year-round to plan every aspect of Fall Festival, from hotel arrangements to Opening Ceremonies. Students are dedicated to creating an environment that welcomes athletes with open arms and celebrates their athletic accomplishments.”

More than 3,000 volunteers from the Villanova University student body and the surrounding community are expected to participate in the event in 2022, serving in numerous capacities such as officials, athlete escorts, award presenters and administrative support services. Volunteers from across the state are welcome and spectators are encouraged to visit competition venues on or near campus to support the athletes. For more information or to register as a volunteer, please click here.

About Special Olympics Pennsylvania: Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) provides year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

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