Essex County Holiday Lights Spectacular at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced Friday.

“Because of the pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Holiday Lights Spectacular,” DiVincenzo said. “The lights show has become a much-anticipated holiday tradition for tens of thousands of people. However, with the number of positive cases growing and a new wave of the virus upon us, we decided it was not in the best interest of public health to hold this year’s extravaganza,” he added.

“We wish everyone a happy holiday season and ask that families be thoughtful and cautious if they gather in larger groups to celebrate Thanksgiving and the upcoming winter holidays. We understand residents may be feeling fatigued by the pandemic, but we must continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, get tested regularly and wash our hands. The lives we save will be those of our loved ones,” he added.

The only holiday-themed light display will be located at the entrance to the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo complex on Northfield Avenue. Motorists will be able to see the display as they drive by the complex.

In past years, visitors to the Holiday Lights Spectacular were asked to bring non-perishable food items to Turtle Back Zoo, which were donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. Since the event is cancelled, the food drive will not take place. Instead, DiVincenzo encouraged residents to think about the less fortunate and make donations to their local food pantry or the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.