The annual Southern Heritage Classic is far more than a football game. Each year, on the Saturday morning of the game at 9 AM, the Southern Heritage Classic Parade begins from the corner of Park Avenue and Haynes Street, and proceeds along Park through Orange Mound to the Lamar-Airways Shopping Center. The parade usually includes the Jackson State University and Tennessee State University bands, along with majorettes, drill teams,drumlines, Cowboys and Steelers fan clubs, car clubs and many others. There used to be more marching bands in the parade as well, but for the last few years, the parade has conflicted with the Southern Heritage Classic Battle of the Bands in Whitehaven, so there have been fewer bands recently, but the hometown favorites, the Melrose High School Sound of the Mound Marching Band always closes out the parade. It’s always a lot of fun, family and food.
Round 2 of the epic battle between the Bellevue Middle drumline and the Star Steppers drumline near the Fed Ex Forum after the Liberty Bowl Parade, 12/30/12. The battle ended when the parents got tired!
Round 1 of the battle between Bellevue Middle School drumline and the Star Steppers drumline in Memphis after the Liberty Bowl parade, 12/30/12
The Bellevue Middle School Majorettes and Drummers march onto Beale Street in the Liberty Bowl Parade in Memphis, 12/30/12
The other musical entry from Memphis in the Liberty Bowl Parade was the Star Steppers Drill Team and Drummers, one of the few Memphis majorette or drill teams to still include a drumline as was once traditional for all Memphis drill teams. At the end of the parade route, the dancers and drummers paraded down Lt. George W. Lee Avenue between the Fed Ex Forum and Beale Street, then posted up at the Fourth Street corner across from Church Park. When Bellevue Middle School’s majorettes and drummers marched up to the same spot, a series of drum battles began between the two Memphis squads, attracting a fairly large crowd of locals and visitors alike.
One of the few Liberty Bowl parade entries from Memphis was the Bellevue Middle School Majorettes and drummers, who posted up between the Fed Ex Forum and Church Park, warming up and marching.
I suppose that there has been a Liberty Bowl Parade each year, but this is the first year I heard about it, so I rode downtown Sunday to check it out. This year’s teams in the Liberty Bowl are Iowa State and the University of Tulsa, and from the looks of Beale Street Sunday, Iowa State brought a lot more fans into the city than Tulsa did. The parade route was short, pretty much just the length of Beale Street, but riders on floats threw Mardi-Gras-style beads, and there were marching bands, mostly from the Midwest. Although the weather was chilly, the Beale Street sidewalks were standing room only.
Majorette jamborees and dance performances are part of the unique culture of Memphis (at New Life MB Church)