Thousands gather in preps for 22nd Southern Heritage Classic - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Thousands gather in preps for 22nd Southern Heritage Classic

(WMC-TV) - It's a big day for football and football fans at the Liberty Bowl Saturday.

Tennessee State and Jackson State University fans have been setting up at Tiger Lane all day in preps for the 22nd annual Southern Heritage Classic.

From a musical fanfare along a crowded Park Avenue to crowded BBQ grills along Tiger Lane, thousands of Mid-Southerners came out in preparation for this year's annual football match up between Tennessee State and Jackson State Universities.

"The tailgating, I love the tailgating every year," said Terry Martin. 

Fans of both schools began setting up at Tiger Lane starting at 6:00 a.m. Saturday.  Many said they plan to stay here until well after the game is over Saturday night.

"It's the introductory to football season and this is where it all starts every year, in Memphis, Tennessee," added TSU fan Wilfred Dillard.

For family and friends of Chris Baker, this is the biggest tailgating event of the football season.

"It's a family tradition, we love to come out and we're JSU alumni and like to come out and party," said Baker. 

Founders of the Southern Heritage Classic said this event is more than a football game.  They said it connects spirits, young and old, in celebration of the beauty, cultural diversity, and the richness of the Bluff City's heritage.

"I want to support Memphis and Fred Jones and both of these great football teams," added Booker T. Washington High Principal Alisha Kiner.

Kiner served as Grand Marshall of this year's Southern Heritage Classic Parade in Orange Mound.  From there, many made the short trek to the Liberty Bowl to continue the football festivities.

"The camaraderie, we see family members, people getting together they haven't seen in a long time," Dillard continued.

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