Johnny Cash boyhood home may soon have another tourist attraction | News
DYESS, AR (KAIT) - The hometown of country music legend Johnny Cash may soon have another tourist attraction.
Dyess Mayor Larry Simms said he is in discussions to bring an event with entertainment and attractions similar to what is offered in Memphis on Beale Street and at Graceland.
The new venture includes the possibility of selling alcohol in Dyess, a dry town.
"We've been talking to a gentleman over on Beale Street. I can't get over into all the details and stuff, but they're wanting to come do a Johnny Cash Festival."
Carolyn Turner is a Dyess native who now lives in neighboring Lepanto. She believes Dyess residents will object to the selling of alcohol for any event.
"We have the Pentecostal church, the Assembly of God Church, and the Baptist Church, and there's some, yeah, that would love it, but in general, no, I don't believe so."
Mayor Simms said he wants to make sure a new festival does not conflict with the projects that are already in place – the Johnny Cash Music Festival set for October 5 at the Arkansas State University Convocation Center, and the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Project in Dyess.
The ASU Arkansas Heritage Sites Office is spearheading the Boyhood Home Project, a plan that includes restoring the home of the Cash family and preserving buildings that were part of the historic Dyess Colony.
"We've got to get ASU aboard and kind of work all the details out. There's a whole lot of details and planning that has to go into an event such as this."
Mayor Simms said a festival and alcoholic beverage sales could bring major economic development to Dyess, a city with a population of 410, according to the 2010 census. "These are the same people that helped develop Beale Street. They do like $11 million worth (of business)."
"We want to make sure that we got all the bases covered and everything is handled right and safe and everybody has a good time when they do come and not leave with a bad impression," Mayor Simms said.
Turner said she loves the idea of another tribute to Johnny Cash, but does not want to see alcohol sales in Dyess.
"I was born there, went to school there, graduated and everything. They tried before and it never worked and I just don't see no sense in it."
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