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These include a large bantha piñata—the beast of burden ridden by fierce Tusken Raiders in Star Wars—and a full-sized wearable costume of the wampa creature that attacked Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back. Fans have even made and sent Sansweet a dozen figures of himself, usually as a Star Wars character. And how's this for symmetry: the abandoned door from the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars, which later was used on a chicken coop in Tunisia, is now a permanent fixture at ROW—in Petaluma, one-time chicken-and-egg capital of the U.S.
"I love to share my collection with other fans and collectors, who come from all over the world," Sansweet says. "They really enjoy hearing little-known stories and anecdotes about many of the pieces. I try to never leave any question unanswered. That's why the tours average three hours or longer." ROW also donates tours to other charities for fundraising and does tours for school and community groups.
One of those visitors who traveled from a galaxy far away to see Sansweet's legendary collection was Texan Anne Neumann. She offered her services to catalogue the collection, guesstimating the job would take six months to complete.
"That was eight years ago," Neumann says with a laugh, "and it's far from done."
As vice-president and general manager of ROW, Neumann maintains its website, coordinates traveling exhibitions and schedules tours for schools and individuals as well as special onsite events.
"Like weddings," she adds. "People have been inquiring if it's possible to get married at ROW. The answer is an unqualified yes!"
Two major events take place in early November. Sansweet, who has married five couples throughout California, is looking forward to conducting his sixth wedding on Nov. 1.
"It'll be the first of what I hope will be many at Rancho Obi-Wan," he says.
Ross Cuddie and fiancé Charmaine Picot, both nurses, are from a distant-rim planet named Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They say they "wanted a venue that was classy yet fun."
Picot, who has a penchant for Princess Leia art, explains, "We were engaged in San Francisco in July 2011 during our first visit to the city, and we found the surrounding area beautiful. Having the premier Star Wars collection onsite is a unique and fitting location for us and our friends who are attending."
Adds Yoda collector Cuddie, "Plus, Steve Sansweet—friend, collecting guru, mentor and all-around swell guy—couldn't be a better person to perform the ceremony."
Nov. 2 is the date for a major fundraiser ("World Record Night @ Rancho Obi-Wan") commemorating the second anniversary of the museum as a nonprofit, and being included in the Guinness World Records 2014. Fans and collectors from all over the United States and overseas will descend on ROW like it's party time on the forest moon of Endor.
"To be included in the Guinness book has been a tremendous honor, and recognition for Rancho Obi-Wan is growing internationally," says Sansweet. "And Star Wars fever is only going to increase as five more feature films are scheduled, starting in 2015. That will keep us on the map."
Sonoma County, the Force is with you.