Villanova University has been a part of the fabric of Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) since 1979 and is the official host of the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival state games each November. In 1989, the former SOPA Eastern State Soccer Tournament was changed into a Fall Festival that welcomed the addition of roller skating, volleyball, long distance running/walking, and equestrian to its competitive sporting events. Equestrian was later replaced with power lifting, and the precision sport of bocce was soon introduced.
The Fall Festival is hosted and organized by Villanova University students and is the largest annual student-run Special Olympics event in the world. For one weekend each year, Villanova University opens its campus up to over 1,000 athletes, 400 coaches, and 2,000 volunteers from the Villanova Student Body, surrounding community, and corporations. The athletes who participate in the Fall Festival compete in a total of six Olympic-type sports including bocce, long distance running, power-lifting, roller skating, soccer and volleyball. However, sporting events are just a small component of the overall weekend. Villanova’s campus is transformed into an athlete’s wonderland, incorporating Opening Ceremonies; a parade; Healthy Athlete screenings; an Olympic Town offering face painting, food and fun; a Victory Dance; and Closing Ceremonies. There is no charge to participate in the Fall Festival or in any other Special Olympics event. All housing and meals for the weekend are provided by Villanova University and Special Olympics Pennsylvania.
The event requires 2,000 volunteers from the Villanova University student body, corporate organizations and the surrounding community.
Spectators are encouraged to visit any of the competition venues on or near campus and cheer on athletes at Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s second largest event of the year.
Fall Festival 2014 will be held from November 7 - 9, 2013.
Count Down To Fall Fest 2013 - Celebrating 25 Years November 1 - 3, 2013
Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s (SOPA) Fall Festival returned to Villanova University for the 25th consecutive year on November 1-3, 2013 and welcomed approximately 1,400 coaches, athletes and Unified Partners representing more than35 Pennsylvania counties to compete in bocce, long distance running/walking, powerlifting, roller skating, soccer and volleyball. In celebration of Fall Festival’s 25th anniversary, Villanova’s campus, located at 800 E. Lancaster Avenue, was transformed according to a Hollywood theme and featured Opening Ceremonies with live entertainment, Special Olympics International’s Chairman Dr. Timothy P. Shriver as a guest speaker, Healthy Athletes® programs, an “Olympic Town” offering athlete activities between sporting events, a Victory Dance and Closing Ceremonies.
Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics, spoke at the 2013 opening ceremonies.