2nd Annual Dyess Days Move Town Closer to Cash Memorial

DYESS, AR--The tiny town of Dyess could be the country music capitol of Region 8 with stars such as Gene Williams, Buddy Jewell, Tommy Cash, and Johnny Cash.

Residents of the Mississippi County town are hoping the 2nd Annual Dyess Days will help raise the money necessary to keep the town's country legacy alive forever.

"Once you've lived in Dyess, you never leave. You're heart stays here," said longtime resident AJ Henson.

Henson grew up in Dyess and was classmates with Johnny Cash. He says the town has changed considerably in the last 60 years.

"At times I feel kind of bad about it. The other times I remember the old Dyess," said Henson.

A town that was alive and vibrant centering around the administration building in town square. It's that same building former residents like Henson are hoping will once again bring the town back to prominence as a Johnny Cash memorial and Dyess museum.

"Johnny Cash was a good friend, he deserves everything we can give him, but also I want to do everything I can to bring my home town back to life," said Henson.

Henson and other volunteers are working hard to make the 2nd Annual Dyess Days a huge fundraiser to their dream a reality. According to Dyess mayor Larry Sims the museum and memorial are close to reality that ever.

"We're moving forward, you just can't see a lot from the outside yet," said Sims.

Thanks to a $50,000 gift from Dyess native Gene Williams the city purchased the administration building. Earlier this week the city received a $42,000 grant they plan to use to fix windows and put a new roof on the building.

The original projection for the museum and memorial was four to six years, however Sims says they are ahead of schedule and could be done much sooner.

"I would say if the money was in place, I'd say within two years. One and a half to two years we could have tour buses rolling in here," said Sims.

Once the tourists start making the pilgrimage to Dyess residents feel the town should return to glory.

"This would be a big shot; it's like a whole heart transplant. Once you get one good thing going then another good thing and this will be a good big thing we are hoping," said Sims.