ORANGEVALE (CBS13) – One of Sacramento County’s most popular Christmas light displays is going dark this year in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Orangevale’s brightly lit Dovewood Court usually draws large crowds, but that’s something not allowed under current health orders.

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Driving down Dovewood Court is an annual tradition for the Vogel family – who live an hour away.

“We just love coming down. There’s normally carolers, normally lights, we always stop and get hot cocoa. It just gets you in the Christmas mood,” the family said.

For decades, the 18 homes there have featured elaborate light displays that drew an estimated 90,000 people in cars and on foot.

“Oh, it’s crazy nuts. If you go on the weekend, it’s really, really packed,” one man said.

But this year – due to COVID-19 concerns – most homes are dark.

“It’s very hard. It was a very hard decision,” said Brenda Smith, who lives in the area.

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Smith said she pulled the plug to avoid attracting the usual crowds.

“We’re not blocking off the streets. It’s not the usual festivities,” she said.

One brightly lit home that last year featured glowing candy canes and cartoon characters now has a dim yard with a sign saying the family is choosing to keep their community safe.

The Sacramento County Public Health Department did not ban homeowners from putting up lights this year, but it issued a warning prohibiting the traditional large gatherings. A few families still decorated, but most chose on their own to skip this year – and they hope the crowds return in 2021.

“I’ve already started buying stuff for next year so next year will be bigger and better,” Smith said.

Dovewood Court was also an annual stop for CBS13’s 12 Daves of Christmas – which starts Wednesday, Dec. 9.

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