FRESNO, California (KGPE) – The most iconic street in the valley for the holiday season turned on its lights Tuesday.

Now in its 97th year, Christmas Tree Lane is bigger, better and brighter than ever. Walkers on the two-mile stretch of Van Ness Avenue know Christmas comes but once a year – and they certainly make it count.

“It’s just phenomenal, each house has its own character,” Chairman of Christmas Tree Lane Dean Alexander said.

There are about 140 houses decked out for the occasion and more than 2 million lights.

Homeowners gave the community an experience and got a gift in return.

“All the smiling faces. People like to come into our snow-field and have their pictures taken. (It brings) the community together,” said Kevin Benotti.

The weeks of work by volunteers were well worth it.

“I think it’s amazing. I like how they spent their time doing all this. It’s really hard to prep this,” said Mihya Sellars.

Many families considered the event a part of their Christmas tradition. Kristen and Dean Navia said they plan on taking their two sets of twins every year.

“Seeing the kids lighting up and getting into the spirit of the season is amazing.”

Juliana Perez said she’s sharing the experience with the next generation.

“I brought my kids out here. They grew up here and stuff. So yeah, this has become like a traditional thing now with grandkids,” she said.

Alexander said seeing everyone come together in the spirit of Christmas is what it’s all about.

“That’s why people come down to the Christmas Tree Lane is families just to get everybody to get together. You have generations of people coming down to Christmas Tree Lane, and we love it.”

The next walk-only night will be Dec. 11.