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Nov. 16, 2017

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Villanova, Pa.- The Villanova community hosted the 29th annual Special Olympics Fall Festival for the state of Pennsylvania Friday, November 10th through Sunday, November 12th. This event is organized completely by a student-run committee of just 90 students, who work year-round to plan everything from opening to closing ceremonies and everything in between. Over 1,000 Special Olympians from across the state come to campus to compete in six different sports throughout the weekend.

On Friday night, November 10th, Opening Ceremonies were held, with over 60 student-athletes walking in the parade with each of the Pennsylvania counties. This year during the closing ceremonies, head men's basketball coach Jay Wright was a keynote speaker where he addressed the participants, coaches, and volunteers to help conclude the weekend's festivities.

The partaking Fall Festival athletes competed in six Olympic-type sports: bocce, long distance running, powerlifting, roller skating, soccer, and volleyball. Villanova Athletic Director Mark Jackson emphasized how hosting the Special Olympics Fall Festival at Villanova embodies our University’s core values. “The Special Olympics Fall Festival is a proud part of the fabric of Villanova University. As the largest student led Special Olympics event in the world, our entire community galvanizes and welcomes this incredible opportunity with open arms to impact the lives of so many.”

He went on to add that “our student-athletes, coaches and staff all are engaged to make sure Villanova Athletics provides a fantastic experience for all Special Olympic participants.” Our home fields are the Special Olympians home for the weekend.

Of the 4,000 volunteers, nearly 500 of them are Villanova student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff. The Villanova athletics teams volunteered throughout the Fall Festival weekend, some participated in Opening Ceremonies, others cheered on at the sporting events, the football team spent time in the Olympic Town, sharing time with the athletes during their Sunday morning and many were at award ceremonies to applaud the athletes for all they had accomplished during the weekend.