From Friday, Nov. 2 until Sunday, Nov. 4, Villanova University will be hosting the Special Olympics, Pa’s Fall Festival, for the 19th consecutive year in a row. This one event is the largest student-run organization in the world.
Kevin Moran, Special Olympics Fall Festival’s media and publicity chair, said, “This is one of the biggest events on Villanova’s campus. About 2,000 Villanova students are joined by faculty, staff, alum, volunteers and special guests to make the event a success.”
Volunteer registrations begin at 7 a.m. and finish at 6 p.m. on Friday in the Jake Nevin Field house on Villanova’s campus. ?The opening ceremony will begin with a torch lighting in front of Bartley Hall, home to the Villanova school of business. On Sunday at 1 p.m., the end of the festival weekend will conclude with closing ceremonies at the Villanova University Pavillion.
Moran estimates over 1,000 athletes who range in age from pre-teen to adult, will compete in the Fall Festival.
Six different competitions will take place over the weekend: Bocce, long distance running, power lifting, volleyball, roller-skating and soccer will be just some the events taking place over the entire weekend.
Sandro Rocco, Villanova’s Director of Support Services for the Special Olympics Pa Fall Festival, said, “Fall Festival also offers Olympic Town in our Quad. O-Town is sponsored by about 70-80 different student organizations and offers a wide variety of different activities for the athletes. They can do things like karaoke, decorate a cookie, have a clown make them balloon animals or even dance with storm troopers and Darth Vader. O-Town is like a huge carnival with so many things for the athletes.”
Anyone is welcome to join in the festivities. Volunteers do not have to reserve a place ahead of time; they just have to show up at the volunteer’s table any time throughout the weekend in the field house. “All volunteers get a free volunteers shirt,” Moran said.
“We offer a special event called Healthy Athletes which promotes, yes, healthy athletes,” Rocco said. “We’ll have nurses and clinicians conduct interactive seminars with athletes about how to stay healthy by eating the right things.”
When arriving on Villanova’s campus and signing up for the event, “fall festival committee members will send volunteers to where they feel they’d be best used,” Moran said. If volunteering sounds interesting and a specific section sounds appealing, volunteers are able to go to that section as well.
To find out more information, check out www.specialolympics.villanova.edu.