‘Shawshank Redemption’ at 20? Ohio prison, film sites plan events


“Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” That line from “The Shawshank Redemption” perfectly describes the 1994 movie too.

Nowhere is that “good thing” more alive than in Mansfield, Ohio, home to the prison “so menacing that the jailhouse is a character in itself,” as an AMC blog post said. Now the town is organizing a Labor Day weekend blowout to celebrate the film’s 20th year.

But do people really come to Mansfield for a “Shawshank” fix? “Oh my gosh, yes!” spokeswoman Amy Weirick says in an email. “It’s crazy. Some 3,500 came last year for the anniversary of the filming. They expect even more for the movie release anniversary.”


The Shawshank Trail Facebook page has more than 4,000 likes, she says, not bad for a town of 45,000 people. Anniversary events from Aug. 29 to 31 include:

--a cocktail party at the famed Ohio State Reformatory, a.k.a. Shawshank State Prison ($50);

--an afternoon at Pugh Cabin, where the film opens, with actor Scott Mann, who played Linda Dufresne’s lover (free);

--a two-day bus tour to 13 “Shawshank” filming locations ($139); and

--a showing of the restored film at the Renaissance Theater where the movie made its debut ($10).

There’s also a Shawshank Anniversary hotel package offered at the Quality Inn & Suites [(419) 529-1000] at 500 N. Trimble Road in Mansfield.

For $128 to $139 a night, visitors will receive cool extras like tickets to tour the Ohio State Reformatory, 15% off purchases at the reformatory’s gift shop, a “Shawshank” T-shirt, two locally made Prison chocolate bars, two Prison Break Sodas, some Jailhouse Java Coffee and breakfast.


Twenty years on, there’s always something new to love about “Shawshank,” like the fact that the Ohio reformatory’s real-life warden made an incidental appearance in the film. Seems we just can’t get enough of a good thing.