The official word: The community that provided the movie backdrop for filming the blockbuster hit "The Shawshank Redemption" two decades ago will host a 20-year filming anniversary celebration this Labor Day weekend. Special events and tours of the actual locations where Shawshank was filmed are being offered in Mansfield, Ashland and Upper Sandusky, Ohio in order to mark the anniversary of the making of Shawshank. Slated for Aug. 30-Sept. 1, events are open not just to extras and crew who worked on the film, but also to the general public. Complete details are available at www.ShawshankTrail.com
Several of the film's stars are expected to attend the Shawshank Reunion Weekend this Labor Day, including Bob Gunton who received great acclaim for his incredible portrayal of the despicable Warden Norton.
"The magic of this movie has truly worked its power over people all around the globe. From Australia and Morocco to Canada, France and even Poland, people recognize me as the Shawshank Warden," said Gunton. "They want to pay homage to this movie and they can do so in Mansfield, where the prison really was the star of the movie. For so many it's a spiritual, if not a nearly religious experience."
The Shawshank Reunion Weekend kicks off on Friday, Aug. 30 with a number of tours and events. Ohio State Reformatory, which starred in the film as Shawshank State Prison, will offer tours beginning at 10 a.m. at $9 for adults and $7 for kids age 7-17, as well as seniors and members of the military. Audio tours are an additional $5 and parking is $2.
Also on Friday, wagon tours at Malabar Farm State Park to Pugh Cabin (Opening Scene) and past the Shawshank oak tree are offered 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for $2/person. In addition, the following self-guided tours are offered 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (some for a nominal fee):
· Bissman Building (Brewer Hotel and Portland Daily Bugle)
· Shawshank Oak Tree drive-by photo opportunity (tree is best viewed on Malabar Farm's property, located across the road)
· Huntington National Bank (Maine National Bank scene)
· Revivals 2 Thrift Store (Trailways Bus Station)
· Wyandot County Courthouse (Andy Dufresne's Trial)
· Shawshank Woodshop (prison woodshop, reenactment and tours)
On Friday evening, Aug. 30, the Renaissance Theatre, which hosted the premier of "The Shawshank Redemption," will offer a 7 p.m. special showing of the film, replicating its 1994 premier. General admission tickets are $10/person and are available at www.mansfieldtickets.com/events/detail/277.
On Saturday, Aug. 31 from 7-9 p.m., the main event is a Shawshank Reunion cocktail reception in the Ohio State Reformatory Central Guard Room. Guests will enjoy live music, hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and special guided prison tours. Tickets are $40 and space is limited. Parking $2. Tickets can be purchased at www.mrps.org/events/shawshank-reunion-party-. Also on Saturday, the same tours are offered again throughout the day with a few minor time variations.
The weekend wraps up Sunday, Sept. 1 when all location tours are again available, except for the Huntington National Bank tour. Beyond film location tours, the Shawshank theme is embraced at local restaurants, shops, attractions and hotels throughout the area, from the hand-crafted Prison Break Soda at Richland Carrousel Park to the Shawshank candy bars at the Squirrel's Den confectionary and the delectable Shawshank sundae served up at Olivesburg General Store.
A destination unlike any other, Mansfield and Richland County, Ohio's wealth of unusual travel adventures and experiences, such as visiting the working farm where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married to spending the night in a haunted former state prison where Hollywood blockbuster movies are filmed. Breathtaking scenery, rural and hometown experiences, as well as hiking, biking, golf, cross-country and downhill skiing, bird watching and loads of other outdoor adventures attract families and visitors of all ages. For information or to order a Visitors Guide, consumers can call (800) 642-8282 or visit www.MansfieldTourism.com or http://www.MansfieldTourism.com/mobile.