Founder Fred Jones Jr. is looking toward another successful Southern Heritage Classic presented by FedEx. (Photo: Karanja A. Ajanaku)

by Fred Jones Jr., Special to The New Tri-State Defender

1. Go to to see all the Classic30 events and determine which ones you are going to attend. We have 12 wonderful activities that the young and the young at heart can enjoy. Being informed and knowing what you want to do is essential to maximizing your experience and having your schedule, tickets, transportation, and attire ready.

2. The Classic is better when shared with friends and family. If you haven’t done so, call your favorite people and invite them to attend the various events with you.

3. Enjoy at least one concert. Whether you like old school, new school or both the Classic has two musical options. The Classic Concert on Thursday, September 12 features the legendary sounds of Gladys Knight and Jeffrey Osborne. The Classic Music Festival is Friday, September 13, with hit makers Keith Sweat, Joe and Tamia. Both shows are winners and guaranteed to have you singing along and dancing in the aisles. Tickets can be purchased at the venue box office and

4. Attend the Classic tailgate AND the game featuring Tennessee State University and Jackson State University. The two are like spaghetti and fish, cheese and grits, ice and sweet tea… they belong together. Each offers a distinct way to have fun in one day. It also allows you to support two wonderful HBCUs that have been educating men and women of color for over a century. You can buy tickets at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium box office (cash only) or

5. Saturday, it’s important that you arrive at the Fairgrounds early, practice patience and bring your clear bag. Game day of the Classic draws an average of 40,000 people and that means traffic and long lines. Arriving early allows easily accessible parking and less traffic. Once you park, you can enjoy yourself at the Classic Tailgate with food, music, giveaways from our various sponsors and great people who all came to have a good time. Then at about 5:00 p.m., head on over to the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium for the big game. Remember, only small clear bags are allowed in the stadium. We have an amazing pregame show planned and kickoff is at 6 p.m. Both teams work hard to play a good game and the half-time show is always magical. You don’t want to miss it!

The Southern Heritage Classic provides family entertainment and memories that will last the rest of your days. I really appreciate the love and support of the Classic fans. We wouldn’t have made it to 30 years without you. My heart swells with pride when I think of what we’ve collectively been able to accomplish. Thank you for allowing me to make my dreams come true.