Southern Heritage Classic organizers encourage wearing masks during weekend events

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:38 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The grills are fired up, and the “friendly” rivalry banter has begun.

The Southern Heritage Classic is back after a two-year hiatus.

The game was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic and in 2019 because of storms.

“Everybody is glad to be back, ready for a good fight, good game,” said TSU Alum Regail Swauncy.

A game amid a pandemic means many changes.

Southern Heritage Classic Founder and CEO Fred Jones says safety is a priority.

“We all are mindful that we have to wear our mask unless we are eating and drinking. That’s something that we understand,” Jones said.

With several thousand tickets sold for the game, Jones says he worked closely with the Shelby County Health Department to make sure the event happens safely.

With that in mind, masks are strongly encouraged.

“You can go enjoy the classic but wear your mask. It’s been proven that masks work, and you’ll help not only yourself, but your friends and your family to enjoy this as safely as possible,” Jones said.

LaTonya Ward-Lane Lacy is a Tennessee State Alum.

“Deep in our veins we are blue and white all the way,” she said.

Lacy has been coming to the classic since its inception and says she’s willing to make the necessary changes to continue a tradition that means so much to her.

“I’m excited that it’s able to still continue. We are practicing of course wearing masks, we are also changing the way we serve our food this year, we’re putting everything in individual containers,” Lacy said.

Jones and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland were encouraging attendees to stop by the Pipkin Building and get vaccinated before the game Saturday.

Tailgating starts Saturday at 8 a.m. -- kickoff is at 6 p.m.

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