MANSFIELD – As families anticipate getting out and traveling this summer, there are plenty of things to do in north central Ohio with events and destinations opening back up as coronavirus pandemic restrictions are being lifted.
The Final Friday Concert Series is returning to The Brickyard this summer starting this week, May 28.
The featured artists are Emily Raff, Jimi Vincent Band, Terry Lee Ridley, representing the first Final Friday concert since September 2019.
Downtown Mansfield Inc. also released a lineup for the rest of the popular concert series this year. Each concert begins at 5:30 p.m.:
June 25: Jody Odom Jr., Jeffrey Boyd & Park Street Blue, Honey and Blue; July 30: Red & Six, Departure, Red Ball Jets; August 27: Macy Page, Talk Boy Trio, Martini Affair; and September 24: Matt Zahel, Terry Douglas, Simba Jordan.
The COVID-19 pandemic derailed the entire Final Friday series in 2020.
Elsewhere, concerts are scheduled to return as part of the 2021-22 season at the Renaissance Theatre. This will be the 93rd season for the venerable theater.
Self-guided tours at the Ohio State Reformatory are being offered 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week with the exception of Easter, Memorial Day and Labor Day.
OSR, which brings thousands of tourists to the area each year, became famous when “The Shawshank Redemption,” starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, was filmed at the prison in 1993.
When the prison first opened in 1896, initially housing 150 young offenders, its presence was the result of a long campaign by local leaders. The castle-like structure, incorporating elements from Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne architecture, housed a total of more than 155,000 men before it closed Dec. 31, 1990, replaced by a new prison, Mansfield Correctional Institution.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983, OSR is the largest castle-like structure in Ohio and is one of the five largest in the United States. It houses the world’s tallest free-standing steel cell block — six tiers and 12 ranges with 600 cells.
Guests can explore the prison independently at their own pace and learn about the history of the facility and the many unique Hollywood and paranormal connections.
The prison-turned-museum will see the return of live music and tattoo artistry at INKcarceration on Sept. 10-12 with Slipknot, Mudvayne, Rob Zombie, A Day To Remember, Mastodon, Halestorm, Chevelle, Killswitch Engage, Beartooth, Motionless In White, Asking Alexandria, Steel Panther and many more. The event is already sold out.
The North Central Ohio Industrial Museum will officially open to the public this summer inside the lower east diagonal wing of the historic Ohio State Reformatory, showcasing the history of manufacturing in Mansfield and surrounding areas. The museum will be open the same hours as OSR and will be free to tour with the purchase of a ticket to the prison-turned-museum.
The Ohio Bird Sanctuary, 3774 Orweiler Road, is fully open with no restrictions, executive director Gail Laux said. The bird sanctuary is open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays noon to 4 p.m., and closed Monday.
Regular Saturday programs are: Bird Encounter at 1 p.m. at The Ohio Bird Sanctuary, and bird presentation at Mohican Lodge at 7 p.m.
Kingwood Center Gardens is fully open — the Gardens, Kingwood Hall, the Display Greenhouse, and the Garden Gateway visitor center with the Gateway Café, the Garden & Gift Shop, and Exhibit Gallery, Kingwood spokeswoman Brenda Nelson said.
Gardens and grounds hours are: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Gateway Café and the Garden & Gift Shop 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and Kingwood Hall 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Kingwood has a full calendar of events planned: the Kingwood 5K on June 12, Wine Walk on June 26, Live on the Lawn concert series in July, and Family Day on August 15. The Great Pumpkin Glow returns for two weekends in October and Christmas at Kingwood will open on November 27. Many educational programs and workshops are scheduled including Cultivation Education for children,” Nelson said.
For more information and registration, or to book a guided tour, visit kingwoodcenter.org or call 419-522-0211. General admission to the gardens is $5 for guests 13 years and older. Kingwood members and those 12 years and under are free. Guests can stop by just to shop and dine without incurring the garden admission fee.
Kingwood is pleased to offer First Free Mondays — free admission the first Monday of most months — and is a proud member of Museums for All, Nelson said.
The Miss Ohio Scholarship Program will be held in June at the Renaissance Theatre with a few changes to keep contestants and the Mansfield community safe during the coronavirus pandemic, with the final crowning competition on June 19.
Miss Ohio Scholarship Program and the Miss America Scholarship Program were not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Oliveri said the Miss Ohio’s Outstanding Teen Program will be held June 15 at the Renaissance Theatre with Miss Ohio preliminaries on June 17 and 18 and the final crowning event on June 19.
While everyone is preparing their summer plans, the Mohican area in Loudonville, will once again be buzzing with visitors from all over. Whether for kids, couples, friends, sports enthusiasts, animal lovers, or nature admirers, there’s a little something for everyone.
Mohican State Park and Forest are home to many recreational trails, including the only IMBA EPIC mountain biking trail in Ohio. Whether hiking, biking, or by horseback, the Mohican trails are full of scenic views and year-round beauty.
Nearby Malabar Farm State Park is one of Ohio’s most unique and interesting state parks. Home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author, screenwriter, and conservationist Louis Bromfield, Malabar Farm State Park is a true working farm.
The area is home to the Mohican River, a state scenic river, that runs along the Wally Road Scenic Byway. Known to be “Ohio’s Largest Recreational Complex,” the Wally is the heart of this famous camping and canoeing industry, according to OhioTravel.com.
Here are some fun summer events: June 5 – Summer Beach Festival – Pleasant Hill Lake Park; June 5 – Mohican MTB 100; June 5, 12, 19 & 26- 7 p.m. “Live Birds of Prey” Mohican State Park Lodge; June 12, Noon – 10 p.m. International Wine Festival- Wolf Creek Grist Mill; June 19 – Mohican Trail 100 Run; July 2 & 3 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. 20th Annual Antique Show, Central Park in Loudonville; July 3 – 21st Annual Loudonville Car Show; July 3, 10, 17 & 24, 7 p.m. “Live Birds of Prey” Mohican State Park Lodge; July 4 9 p.m. Loudonville Fireworks, downtown Loudonville; July 16-18 Christmas in July & Fireworks – Pleasant Hill Lake Park. Visit DiscoverMohican.com for more information or find them on Facebook-Discover Mohican.