Joplin, MO (SNS) – SouthernFest ’15 – a two-day fundraising event for the Missouri Southern Athletics program – will be held Thursday and Friday, July 30-31, at the Downstream Casino Resort.

The seventh annual event will include a dinner along with a live and silent auction, and the Rod Smith Green and Gold Golf Classic. It will also include new features sure to please Lions fans and supporters, said Randon Coffey, director of athletic marketing and corporate sales at Missouri Southern.

“This year we have made so many upgrades to the event that we can’t wait to let the fans experience it for themselves,” said Coffey. “Live music, behind-the-scenes looks at the brand new Nike uniforms and a look inside the north endzone fieldhouse will all be on display for people to experience. We truly want the people attending to get VIP access.”

The Lion Pride Dinner and Auction will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 30, with a social in the Downstream Pavilion. Dinner will be served at 6:15 p.m., with the silent auction starting at 5:30 and the live auction at 7 p.m.

Signed items available included a Rolling Stones guitar, a drumhead from Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, a Beatles album (signed by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr), sheet music from Jimmy Buffett and the Eagles, and “Star Wars,” “Field of Dreams” and “The Godfather” posters.

New this year will be the use of the BidPal mobile bidding software. Participants can use a device provided by organizers or their own smartphone to bid on auction items.

Morning rounds for the Rod Smith Green & Gold Golf Classic will begin at 9 a.m. at the Eagle Creek Golf Club. There will be lunch at noon, with the afternoon round starting at 1:30 p.m.

The annual SouthernFest helps to provide a championship experience for student-athletes at Missouri Southern, said Coffey.

“This event is crucial to our athletics programs not only from a financial standpoint, but also from a community support perspective as we want more and more people to buy in to the exciting things happening at Missouri Southern,” he said.

Tickets to the dinner and auction are $75. Individual spots for the golf tournament are $150, and $600 for four-person teams.

To register, visit www.mssulions.com or 417-625-3075.

-WWW.MSSU.EDU-