You know a good story when you hear it…how about more than 600 versions of the same one? The story is the happening of the first Christmas—the birth of Jesus, presented in many different ways with the same cast of characters at No Room at the Inn’s 23rd Annual Nativity Display.
Ranging from simple and inexpensive to elegant and elaborate, the Nativity displays hail from many countries, including Mexico, Alaska, Germany, Spain, Italy and South America. From tiny to those with 2’-tall figures, the unique displays are made from a variety of materials, such as fine porcelain, clay, wood, metal, crystal, cloth and even seed pods. Fifty-three countries and cultures were represented at last year’s exhibit.
In the 23 years since the first No Room at the Inn display, the organization has donated more than $380,000 to programs for the homeless in Ventura County. While the displays inspire and delight those who view them—which included some 1,000 people who came to last year’s exhibit—the organization’s mission is to “celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by: 1. Focusing on the humble birth of the blessed Baby, Jesus, two thousand years ago. 2. Helping those for whom there is also ‘No Room at the Inn,’ the homeless.”
Inspired by a conversation at a Christmas party between avid Nativity set collectors Judy Crenshaw and Huw Howells, No Room at the Inn was born of their desire to share with others the variety and beauty of the depiction of that first Christmas and to help the less fortunate, and what more appropriate group than the homeless? After Huw’s death, his widow, Nora Howells, and Judy made the dream come true.
From its first public Nativity display event in 1993 at the Camarillo Junior Chamber of Commerce, No Room at the Inn has continued to invite guests to view the story of Christmas told through its Nativity displays while raising funds to help those in need.
“Because Jesus himself was homeless that first Christmas, Huw thought the name ‘No Room at the Inn’ would be appropriate,” explains NRATI’s website.
No Room at the Inn’s 23rd Annual Nativity Display Grand Opening Gala takes place on Friday, December 4 from 6-9 p.m. and includes entertainment, delicious appetizers, gift baskets and a silent auction, great for holiday shopping. Requested donations are $45 per person at the door. Taking place through December 6, this year’s display is hosted by Padre Serra Parish, located at 5205 Upland Road in Camarillo.
Weekend exhibit hours are Saturday, December 5 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 6 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Donations are $5 for adults, and $1 for children. The Silent Auction continues throughout the weekend, and special activities just for kids include a Children’s Corner with crafts and special costumes for dressing up as a Nativity scene character.