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Annual Christmas display canceled after overwhelming popularity

Officials said popularity caused traffic congestion

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – An annual Orange County Christmas display has gone dark after becoming too popular.

Orange County Parks and Recreation’s Cypress Grove Festival of Lights event has canceled the light show that began Nov. 30 and was to continue until Friday. County officials cited overwhelming popularity that resulted in traffic congestion on outlying roadways.

The event has been held for the past 15 years. It usually draws 200 cars a night during the one-week festival. But in its first two days this year, there were nearly 1,800 cars.

"For the care and consideration of neighboring residents, the decision was made to cancel the event," the county said. "We apologize for the inconvenience."

Meanwhile, a number of families arrived Wednesday night with kids in their car, only to be turned away by officers who now stand at the entrance.

"We came every year, so we're kind of disappointed," said 9-year-old Zachary.

"That's a little upsetting for the kids, especially," one woman said.

Drivers reported one to two hours of traffic on the two-land road. The mayor received several emails, forcing them to cancel the event.

"The traffic was backed up all the way to the trail, and then when we tried to come last night, so we ended up turning around, thought we'd get an early start tonight," said Darrell Williams. He and his wife, Angie, brought their grandson tonight, only to have no luck again.

"I'm thinking to myself, 'Maybe they should've considered the neighbors, maybe better planning before they decided to put this event together,'" Angie said.

"I hope they bring it back, because it's been like a tradition," one woman told News 6.

The county said the overwhelming popularity was most likely due to social media. Many neighbors said they were simply hoping for some more control and assistance with traffic. The county will reevaluate for next year.