Southern Heritage Classic brings economic boost, focus on education and HBCUs

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- People were already setting up tables, tents and grills on Tiger Lane Friday morning.

While Wall Curry didn't attend Tennessee State or Jackson State, he's been supporting the classic and going out to tailgate for 10 years.

"I`m expecting a lot of guests to come around, we`re going to cook, have fun and we`re just going to enjoy the game," said Curry.

Curry says the Classic is about much more than football. He enjoys the fellowship.

"The opportunity to get together with a lot of people some that you know, some that you don`t know."

Speaking of all the people, the Southern Heritage Classic brings with it a big economic boost.

According to the Memphis Sports Council, a thousand hotel rooms have been sold, and they estimate a $ 21 million economic impact.

People setting up for tailgating weren't the only ones on Tiger Lane Friday.

Hundreds of students filed into a college and career fair Friday.

It's a reminder that Classic weekend also underscores the importance of education and historically black colleges and universities.

Michael Scruggs is an SCS teacher, "So I think it`s good especially when you can reach young people, and to be at this event and I`ve talked to so many kids that are here and they`re so excited to be able to say hey, I may be able to go to this school and picking up these pamphlets. "

Greg Williams was setting up for Saturday as well.

He told WREG, "We need to keep reminding our kids of our heritage, where we come from."

Williams added, "We need to give back and the Southern Heritage Classic brings a lot of our heritage right here in Memphis where we don`t have a black football team."

Kickoff is 6:00 p.m. Saturday. Other Saturday events include the parade, a 3K for kids and the Battle of the Bands after the game.

Click here for a list of other Southern Heritage Classic events.