Mansfield prepares for ‘Shawshank’ 20th anniversary

Associated Press


The Ohio city that served as backdrop to the 1994 prison drama “The Shawshank Redemption” is planning a series of events surrounding the 20th anniversary of the filming.

The film, adapted from a Stephen King novel, stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman as two convicted murderers — one guilty, one innocent — who find refuge in the unlikely friendship they forge while facing life behind bars.

Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau said its “Shawshank Reunion Weekend” will take place over Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30 to Sept. 1.

The celebration will include actor appearances, signature confections and site tours in Mansfield, Ashland and Upper Sandusky showcasing locations used in the film.

Featured locations will include the Ohio State Reformatory used as Shawshank State Prison, and the film’s bank, courtroom and what’s now known locally as the Shawshank Oak Tree at Malabar Farm State Park.

The bureau said several actors from the film are expected, including Bob Gunton, who played the warden. Robbins and Freeman, both award nominees for their performances, were not mentioned as confirmed. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including best picture and best actor.

Mansfield’s Renaissance Theatre, which hosted the film’s 1994 premiere, plans to restage the event Aug. 30 with a special screening. General admission is $10.

On Saturday, a special cocktail reception is scheduled in the prison’s central guard room. The $40 admission includes live music, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and special guided prison tours.

Prison tours for the general public will run throughout the weekend beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 30. Cost is $9 for adults and $7 for children 7 to 17, seniors and members of the military. Audio tours cost an additional $5.

Wagon tours at Malabar Farm State Park also begin that Friday, running 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Sunday. They will visit Pugh Cabin, used in the movie’s opening scene, and allow photos at the oak tree. Cost is $2 per person.

Tours of these additional sites are self-guided from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, some for a nominal fee: the Bissman Building (the film’s Brewer Hotel and Portland Daily Bugle); Huntington National Bank (film’s Maine National Bank scene; closed Sunday); Revivals 2 thrift store (film’s Trailways Bus Station); Wyandot County Courthouse (setting for Andy Dufresne’s trial); and the prison woodshop, where reenactments and tours are planned.

The bureau said a variety of locations around Mansfield also are taking up the theme.

Richland Carrousel Park will feature hand-crafted “Prison Break Soda,” the confectioners at Squirrel’s Den plan a prison candy bar; and Olivesburg General Store will offer a Shawshank sundae.

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