MEMPHIS, Tenn. — While the game may not be until Saturday, people from across the country are traveling to Memphis for the Southern Heritage Classic.
Festivities got underway Thursday night ahead of the Tennessee State University and University of Arkansas game at Pine Bluff.
“It’s like a mini homecoming. There’s a lot of alumni here,” said VeLois Bowers, who traveled from Michigan to see the game.
Justin Richardson said this will be his 15th Southern Heritage Classic.
“I got brothers coming from Nashville, I got folks coming from Chicago,” said Richardson.
Safety is a focus this weekend. Last month, during the National Biker’s Roundup, four people died in separate accidents within hours of each other at the same intersection outside of the Liberty Park area, where Saturday’s game will be played.
“We’re expecting a lot of cars, a lot of pedestrians walking, and for the safety of everyone, we want people to be patient,” said Col. Marcus Worthy with the Memphis Police Department.
MPD, Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies and event staff will be providing extra security in parking lots, nearby areas and downtown Memphis.
MPD officers will also travel throughout neighborhoods and man intersections near the stadium.
“Traffic will be as normal as possible coming in, then going out, we might have one lane in one direction going out on one-way streets,” said Worthy.
Bowers said she "absolutely" feels safe and thinks the production has been done "extremely well."
“There’s going to be plenty of security so we’re going to be having a good time,” said Richardson, “We’re just waiting for the game, excited to be tailgating to get started!”