ORANGEVALE (CBS13) — Amid the pandemic, authorities are dimming the lights on the Dovewood Court holiday display in Orangevale.
Dovewood Court is known for its bright lights and busy sidewalk every holiday season. It has been featured on TV many times. Tens of thousands come from all over to see neighbors' displays which take months to put up. But this year the idea of such a big event was shot down by the Sacramento County Health Department due to the threat of COVID-19.
"Yes, it's a really nice thing that the community does and comes together. But at the same time, I get the health risks and everything," Chelsea Parks said.
It was over before it began this year. Neighbors reportedly inquired with the county as to whether they should even start putting up the lights, which typically happens on Nov. 1. A neighbor then says she received an email saying the event should be canceled due to health reasons.
In a statement, the Sacramento County Department of Health Services said it is working on guidance for holiday events and encourages those "considering neighborhood-scale events to fill out and submit the Event Application form that will soon be posted on the COVID-19 website."
In regard to Dovewood Court, the health department said the event could not proceed as it had in previous years with large crowds over a month-long period.
"However, to clarify, the County has not prohibited residential decorations or holiday displays in any neighborhood. The director of the Dept of Health Services will contact the Dovewood Court coordinator to discuss the clarification and provide information about the Event Application," the health department said in a statement.
CBS13 spoke with a dozen people who live on the street who didn't want to go on camera for various reasons. Some didn't want to be perceived as a scrooge while others didn't want to be seen as a super spreader, or were worried about their own personal health.
Worried instead of spreading good cheer, visitors could be spreading something else. The cancellation will cost thousands for neighboring businesses and a church who profited by charging for parking.
"There was a lot of traffic. So when you are coming home from Safeway, which is just right around the corner, it takes 45 minutes from Madison to here, which is a block. Just because there's so many people stopping to go up the driveway and turn around," said Chelsea Parks.
Pulling the plug on a party that warmed the hearts of both neighbors and the thousands of onlookers. In light of this move, many are now searching for another reason to celebrate the season.
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