Over the next couple of days, several events will take place to celebrate the music and life of Johnny Cash. Today at two, Cash’s youngest daughter Tara Cash Schwoebel will hold a press conference at the Cooper Alumni Center to announce the release of her book Reflections. Tomorrow night is the fourth annual Johnny Cash Music Festival, which has sold out. Tickets are still on sale for another event that is taking place Saturday. Dr. Ruth Hawkins of Arkansas State University says tours of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home will start Saturday.
“We are excited that Saturday will be the first time that it is open publicly on a continuous basis,” said Hawkins. “This will be the grand opening! We will have a number of the Cash family there. The event starts at ten a.m. with a ceremony in the Colony Circle there in Dyess. That ceremony is free and open to the public. There will also be tours of the administration building that will be complimentary.”
The Cash family lived in the one thousand square foot home from 1935 to 1954. The home has many items that were in the home when the Cash family lived there in Dyess, including the original piano that Johnny Cash’s mother used to play, and a radio the family used to gather around to listen to music and shows. Dr. Hawkins says there is a fee for tours of the Johnny Cash home.
“We are charging $10 for tickets to tour the house. We are doing that because the house is very small and so we need to limit the amount of people that are going through the house at a time. The tickets will be timed tickets that allow people in at certain hours beginning at 11 a.m. and ending with tours at 3 p.m. I will tell you that the 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. tours are already sold out.”
She also talks about the Administration Building.
“A lot of people don’t realize that in addition to the Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash, we have also restored the administration building that was the federal building that served the colony when it was an agricultural resettlement community. Eleanor Roosevelt came in 1936 and dedicated this building. We will have our grand opening ceremony in the same exact spot where Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated the building in 1936.”
Arkansas State University has been involved in restoring the home and has raised two and a half million dollars for the project. The total project will cost 5.9 million dollars. The project is expected to draw approximately 50,000 visitors annually.