Seasons Greetings From The Town Of Naperville

Guest host Mary Louise Kelly follows up with George Pradel, the mayor of Naperville, Il., who invited residents to gather for a town photo Friday. The picture will be used for the town's annual holiday card.

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It's that time of year when lots of us are struggling to produce the perfect shot for our holiday cards. You know, the one where all the members of your family actually have their eyes open at the same time?

Well, spare a small pang of sympathy for George Pradel. He's the mayor of Naperville, Illinois. And you may remember, we talked to him last week about his plan to get his entire town - that's 147,000 people - to turn out for a holiday photo op.

Mayor GEORGE PRADEL (Naperville, Illinois): We're going to try to gather people next to the tower, spell out peace, P-E-A-C-E. And we were going to just put our arms together and make it a really great event because that's what it's all about.

KELLY: So that was the plan. The big event was today. And to find out how it went, we've got Mayor Pradel back on the line. How did it go?

Mayor PRADEL: Hey, good afternoon. Oh, it went well today. We didn't have 147,000 people 'cause it is so cold out here.

KELLY: Cold out there.

Mayor PRADEL: It is freezing.

KELLY: Oh, dear. Well, how many people do you estimate who showed up?

Mayor PRADEL: We had about six or 700. There were people from all over the city just standing in the line to make sure that they were part of that spirit of the holiday season.

KELLY: Well, tell me exactly how this unfolded. The camera was way up in the tower. You...

Mayor PRADEL: The camera was in our 150-foot tower, which is 72 bells in the carillon, and they were way up on top of the carillon looking down on the Rotary Hill that we have here.

We actually took paint and painted the grass, you know, with the word peace. And then people just stood within the lines. It was really neat because they had all different colors of clothing on and I'm sure that when they get the picture back, it'll - if it's in color, it'll be all different colors and be kind of neat.

KELLY: When you were down there, I assume circulating your way through the crowd, were you able to get a sense of who turned out? Is this people who work in the city center?

Mayor PRADEL: Well, no, actually, it was - a lot of the people just from the town. We had a few employees, but actually, the townspeople turned out more than our city employees 'cause this is a day off.

KELLY: Well, I'm thinking this is going to be a hard act to follow for next year's holiday card.

(Soundbite of laughter)

KELLY: Is this going to be a Naperville tradition?

Mayor PRADEL: It was just going to be a few people talking about diversity in Naperville, saying that we all love each other and are really respectful of each other. And we just wanted to say, we work together for peace.

KELLY: Well, thank you...

Mayor PRADEL: And we actually had peace on Earth today because we had the sign and it was on the earth. And so, it was peace on Earth.

(Soundbite of laughter)

KELLY: Quite literally.

Mayor PRADEL: Yeah, I thought it was good.

KELLY: Well, thank you so much, Mayor Pradel.

Mayor PRADEL: Well, thank you and happy holidays.

KELLY: And to you as well. That's George Pradel. He's the mayor of Naperville, Illinois, where residents got together today to pose for the city's annual holiday card.

(Soundbite of music)


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