Ohio State Reformatory with a flag in front

The "Blood Prison" haunt will have a new start date at the Ohio State Reformatory after logistical issues with the fire suppression system.

MANSFIELD – TV personality and film critic Ben Mankiewicz will join “The Shawshank Redemption” 25th anniversary celebration in Mansfield, event organizers announced Friday. Mankiewicz has hosted Turner Classic Movies for more than a decade.

On Friday, Aug. 16, he will moderate the largest panel discussion of the film’s cast and crew assembled since its 1992 filming. The symposium will take place prior to a screening of the film in the historic Renaissance Theatre, where the movie first premiered in 1994.

Ben Mankiewicz

Ben Mankiewicz

Then on Saturday evening, Aug. 17, Mankiewicz will host a discussion at a ticketed reception inside Shawshank State Prison, where cast members will mingle with the film’s most ardent fans. Tickets for both events are on sale now at Shawshank25.com

In addition to visiting the 16 filming sites along The Shawshank Trail, organizers of the Aug. 16 to 18 anniversary celebration have added more events that allow fans to take part in celebrating the release of this milestone of the No. 1 movie of all time (per IMDB), including a number of free offerings.

Actors from the film will be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs, including Bob Gunton (Warden Norton), William Sadler (Heywood), Mark Rolston (Bogs), Frank Medrano (Fat Ass), Neil Giuntoli (Jigger), Alfonso Freeman (Red’s Mugshot and Fresh Fish Guy), Scott Mann (Glenn Quentin), Renee Blaine (Linda Dufresne) and Claire Slemmer (Bank Teller).

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Several background actors will be staged at filming sites along the trail throughout the weekend to meet guests and sign autographs as well. Special anniversary souvenirs will also be available for purchase, including artifacts crafted out of wood from the Shawshank tree, which was felled by a lightning strike in 2016. Additional guests and event updates will be announced via social media at @ShawshankTrail. 

Many of The Shawshank Trail sites feature a specific schedule of events. First on everyone’s list will be a tour of the Ohio State Reformatory for $25. The reformatory “starred” in the movie as Shawshank State Prison. Guests can stand inside Warden Norton’s office, peer into Andy’s escape tunnel, walk the Road to Buxton and ride a wagon to Malabar Farm’s Pugh Cabin where the film’s opening scenes were shot.

Travelers are encouraged to book accommodations and tickets to paid events now at ShawshankTrail.com and check back for announcements regarding new events, souvenirs and actor appearances. 

A destination unlike any other, Mansfield is home to a wealth of unusual travel adventures and experiences, such as visiting the working farm where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Kingwood Center Gardens, BibleWalk, breathtaking scenery, rural and hometown experiences. Hiking, biking, golf, cross-country and downhill skiing, bird watching and loads of other outdoor adventures attract travelers of all ages. Complete visitor information is available at DestinationMansfield.com or (800) 642-8282.