Villanova Hosts Special Olympics Pennsylvania’s Annual Fall Festival

By Jan Carabeo

VILLANOVA, Pa., (CBS) — The Pavilion at Villanova University is about to get a whole lot louder.

The Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival has arrived.

And soon more than 1,100 athletes will join these student volunteers on campus.

“It’s really an incredible experience to get the entire Villanova community involved both with the athletes and with the outside community,” said Director of Human Resources Elise Keale.

It takes 4,000 volunteers in all to put on these games every year, making this the largest student-run Special Olympics in the entire world.

“They compete in six different sports so we have bocce, volleyball, soccer, roller skating, long distance running and power lifting,” said Director of Competition Erin Hannon.

“Lot of energy, lots of support, lots of love all for these athletes who put in so much hard work,” said Keale.

The banners are in place. The courts set indoors.

And outside, the soccer field is ready for players like Lisa, a veteran athlete at this point.

“I’ve been coming since I was 12,” said athlete Lisa Barbour.  “I’m very thankful for the Villanova students for all they do.”

She’s hoping to take home some hardware.

But the volunteers here tell me they take away much more than the athletes do.

“They just want to come here and have fun and so that’s rubbed off on me and I think this student body too,” said Festival Director Bobby Reiff.

“They stand up on that award stand there’s just no better place to be,” said Senior Sports Director Michelle Boone.

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