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South Coast Event Mixes Art and Religion To Help Homeless

More than 400 nativity scenes are on display at this year's "No Room At The Inn" event in Ventura County, which raises money to help the homeless

You can hear the commotion of volunteers in action as they put the final touches on a show in Ventura County which mixes art, religion, and charity.

A Westlake Village church is this year’s home the nearly quarter of a century old event which features displays of hundreds of nativity scenes, and raises money to help the homeless.

Nora Howells is one of the co-founders of “No Room At The Inn.” She, her late husband Huw, and Judy Crenshaw were both avid nativity scene collectors. They would set up their collections in their homes, and invite people over to see them. They came up with the idea for making it a bigger event, with more collectors, and turning it into a fundraiser to help those in need. After Huw Howells lost his long battle with cancer, the two women created “No Room at the Inn” to honor him.

Over its 24 year history, it's raised more than $400,000 to help the homeless.

The event takes place at different churches throughout Ventura County every year. This year, it’s at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Westlake Village. In a large auditorium, hundreds of nativity scenes are being set up, in all shapes and sizes. Some collectors bring in two or three of the nativity scenes for the show, while other bring dozens. This year’s show will feature more than 400 scenes.

Many of the sets are unconventional, made from unusual things, or with unique designs. Judy Sullivan of Lake Sherwood is setting up part of her collection, which includes a wreath which has its own nativity scene.

The “No Room At The Inn” event in Westlake Village opens with a reception from 6-9 Friday night. It’s then open to the general public 10-7 Saturday and 10-5:30 on Sunday, with all profits going to programs to help the homeless in the county.