Rancho Obi-Wan’s Grand Re-Opening!

Pete Vilmur | November 10, 2011

If you’re a fan who frequents any number of Star Wars collecting forums, Facebook pages or twitterfeeds, you probably picked up some heightened chatter starting last Saturday around 4:00pm PST. No, George wasn’t announcing the release of a seventh Star Wars episode, and no, a Blu-ray release of the Holiday Special (which looks bad in any resolution) isn’t imminent – rather, it was the grand re-opening of Rancho Obi-Wan, an enormous museum celebrating the merchandising legacy and fandom inspired by our favorite space saga. Its original — and far quieter — opening occurred way back in 1998, and has since served as a resource and spectacle for those lucky fans who have received a tour.

Around 200 guests file in to the new Rancho Obi-Wan (photo by Victoria Webb)

Rancho Obi-Wan – which houses the personal collection of Star Wars super-collector Steve Sansweet – was unveiling a spacious new addition to display Sansweet’s ever-expanding collection of Star Wars goodies, including full-size arcade games, bicycles, life-size droids, and fan-created artwork. What’s more, Steve announced Rancho Obi-Wan’s new nonprofit corporation status, which will “serve the public through the collection, conservation, exhibition and interpretation of Star Wars memorabilia and artifacts” (check out ranchoobiwan.org and Rancho’s official Facebook page ).

As someone who first visited the vaunted expanse of Star Wars collectibles at Rancho in 2002 – and even became its tenant for four months prepping the poster collection for our Star Wars Poster Book — this was a big day indeed. With around 200 guests in attendance, Rancho’s grand re-opening was a reminder of the enduring friendships that have been formed through a shared interest in the Star Wars saga, and the incredible creativity it has inspired among fans.

A section of the new expanded Rancho showing the artwork gallery (guarded by helmets from The Vader Project)

We’ve gathered a few images of the event snapped by event photographer Victoria Webb below, and if you want a really thorough account of the evening’s festivities (and a bunch more great photos), be sure to head on over to Rebelscum.com’s spectacular coverage!

The guests arrive!

Sansweet prepares for the new Rancho’s ribbon-cutting ceremony

Two cakes — one identical to the one depicted on the famous “Star Wars Happy Birthday” poster, await hungry guests

Guests check out the new display shelves showcasing some of Sansweet’s choice collectibles

Steve prepares to unveil the museum’s new addition, which is reached through a full-scale reproduction of the Tantive IV‘s corridor!

The guests await entry into the museum’s new addition in a room showcasing original props and production artwork from the saga

James Arnold Taylor — Obi-Wan from The Clone Wars — was on hand to christen Rancho Obi-Wan’s new addition (in his Kenobi duds, no less!)

Seth Green hams it up with Sansweet for a photo

Rancho’s new arcade section includes old-school console video games, pachinkos, slot machines, and a display of replica trooper helmets

Rancho curator and event planner extraordinaire Anne Neumann with a newfound friend

Guests James Arnold Taylor, Lucasfilm’s Mary Franklin, TheForce.net’s Philip Wise, General Grievous voice actor Matt Wood, Heart of Dixie‘s Jaime King, and Fanboys director Kyle Newman pose for a photo in the new addition

Lucasfilm’s Pablo and Kristen Hidalgo along with artist Brian Rood

StarWars.com’s Matt Martin and girlfriend Amanda Jean

Star Wars artists Denise Vasquez and Randy Martinez

Insider contributor Cherie Buchheim, StarWars.com’s Pete Vilmur, and Comprehensive Guide to SW Collectibles co-author Duncan Jenkins in Rancho’s poster room

Sculptor Lawrence Noble with wife Libby and friend Han Park

Steve poses with legendary mask creator Don Post Jr.

Guests clown around with the “Smiling Vader” mask, one of Rancho’s newest additions

Check out more photos from Rancho Obi-Wan’s grand re-opening here!

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