As fans were dropped off at Rancho Obi-Wan (ROW), they checked in and received their guest packet. The guest packet included: A schedule of the evening's events, a lanyard, two door prize tickets, and a bidding paddle for the live auction. Attendees were then directed to the bag check to drop off their bags and get their goodie bags. Guests could also use this area to store items they won in the auctions or purchased at the Rancho Obi-Wan General Store. On the back of the lanyard was a plastic bag which contained stickers in which guests could trade with other guests in order to complete the pictured image on their particular lanyard.
One of the main reasons fans and ROW members were excited about this year's event, was that Don Post Jr. was going to attend. Don Post Jr. took over his father's company (Don Post Studios) and became one of Lucasfilm's first licensees back in 1977. Don Post Studios focused on producing high-end Star Wars masks and helmets. They later evolved into producing life-size statues and high-end collectibles. Steve Sansweet was able to acquire the original molds for characters like: Darth Vader, Boba Fett, C-3PO, R2-D2, TIE Pilot and X-Wing Pilot. The original molds were set up throughout Steve's Museum and were available for attendees to lay their eyes on. Steve Sansweet also sat down with Don Post Jr. to discuss his experience working on his Star Wars pieces. It was very apparent that even after all these years, Mr. Post still enjoys discussing his contributions to the Star Wars Universe.
Just like in past years, this gala was not without activities and fun for all attendees. The Balloon Pop game was a very popular game in which guests could pop balloons that contained small pieces of paper with a prize number on them. The more money you donated, the better prize you got with your pop. Guests popped balloons with Star Wars darts with an Empire or a Rebel symbol depending on which side of the Force they aligned themselves with. Prizes included puzzles, posters, autographs, and many other rare goodies!
In addition to the Balloon Pop, there was another game in which guests could donate money for a chance to win a prize. This game was the bag toss. Attendees were instructed to toss a bean bag into a board shaped like the Second Death Star with a hole in it. This "exhaust port" was the target of the bean bag. The more money you donated, the more tries you received at tossing your bean bag in the hole. Prizes for this included vintage soap and shampoo bottles, keychains, sketch cards, and more. This was a very popular activity that kept many guests occupied a good portion of the evening.
Alex Were, AKA The Pumpkin Geek, was definitely a fan favorite at this event. Alex provided some very unique items for the live auction as well as a few pumpkins that were for decoration at the Galaween. These pumpkins were not real, but rather craft pumpkins which he carved with a dremel. These pumpkins included a 40 watt bulb and will last forever. Before the pumpkins were raffled off, they were available for viewing in the back of the Rancho Obi-Wan Museum in a room known as "Jabba's Palace". The pumpkins included: Boba Fett, Stormtrooper, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Yoda, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, BB-8 and a Space Battle. Alex was at the event and even had a table set up outside where people could watch him carve a pumpkin in person.
Eileen the Light Coach was also in attendance. Eileen doubles as the accountant for Rancho Obi-Wan, but at this event, she was focusing on doing her fortune telling/card reading with a Star Wars spin on things. Guests could sign up for time slots or show up during down time to get their questions answered in this amazing Star Wars themed card reading. Steve Sansweet was one of the many people who shoved aside the curtain and entered the dimly lit room for answers about his future!
One of the most iconic aspects of Star Wars is the costumes. What would a Star Wars event be if not for the local 501st and Rebel Legions? Members of the 501st and Rebel Legions were out in full force to pose with fans and take photos. Even Steve Sansweet got in on the action to dress up as Commander Wolffe from Star Wars: Rebels.
One of the most fun (and also stressful) activities was the auction. The live auction took place at 7 PM and each guest was given a bidding paddle to bid on items of their liking. Items in the auction included: Original art (even some by Ralph McQuarrie), prototypes, carved craft pumpkins, Cross Pens, Han Cholo Jewelry, Crew hats from The Force Awakens, a first edition Star Wars book signed by George Lucas, Don Post items and many other rare Star Wars collectibles. Steve Sansweet was the auctioneer and many fans walked away smiling with rare collectibles that would soon be in their collection.
If standing out among a crowd is intimidating to you, that's OK as there was also a silent auction. The action began at 4 PM as guests showed up and there were three waves of finishing times depending on the rarity of the piece beginning at 9 PM. The auction took place in the Ephemera Room. Pens and paper filled the shelves along with rare Star Wars items. Items in this auction included: Gentle Giant and Sideshow pieces, art, exclusives, cookie jars, posters, etc. Door prizes were also given away and Rancho Obi-Wan cake was served later in the evening.
Guests like Dave Filoni, Pablo Hidalgo, and Pete Vilmur were also hanging out for the majority of the night. Whether you wanted to eat, drink, look at the collection, spend money or just mingle with other Star Wars fans, this event was definitely something to look forward to. There will be another gala next year, so make sure to keep an eye out for future announcements.
To find out more about the nonprofit Rancho Obi-Wan Museum, please visit: Rancho Obi-Wan
By: Eric Pfeifer