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Cold start

Naperville, 12/31/13--Spotlights around the Carillon caught the snowflakes as they fell during the ceremony. Naperville held an early New Year's Eve celebration at the Carillon Tuesday evening.   | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Naperville, 12/31/13--Mayor George Pradel rings in the New Year as the crowd does a countdown at 6 p.m. Naperville held an early New Year's Eve celebration at the Carillon Tuesday evening.   | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Naperville, 12/31/13--Naperville held an early New Year's Eve celebration at the Carillon Tuesday evening.   | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media
Naperville, 12/31/13--A crowd helped cheer in the New Year. Naperville held an early New Year's Eve celebration at the Carillon Tuesday evening.   | Jon Langham/For Sun-Times Media

It has been a cold and snowy start to 2014, and that kind of weather began right at the start of the new year in Naperville.

New Year’s Eve brought freezing weather, ice-covered roadways and the beginning of the year’s first major snowstorm. But that didn’t stop about 100 Naperville residents and their children from ringing in the New Year at the Millennium Carillon on Rotary Hill.

“In the last month I’ve been a little under the weather,” Mayor George Pradel said before doing the early countdown for families at 6 p.m. There was another traditional countdown at midnight.

Pradel, who already presided over a countdown at noon at the DuPage Children’s Museum, joined CLTV News Anchor Dolly McCarthy at the 6 p.m. countdown.

Pradel solicited resolutions from the crowd, joking that he was reluctant to make one because “I make them and break them so fast.”

But with the urging of the crowd, he made a resolution no one could find fault with.

“I hope that we all realize that we care about each other and help those in need,” he said.

Crowds have been gathering at the Carillon to count down to the New Year since its official opening in 2000.

Holding two countdowns has been standard for a least the last five New Year’s Eves, the idea being that Naperville families could bring young children to participate in the first event before getting them home to bed at a decent hour.

“What I like is that this ties the Carillon to the community,” City Carilloneur Tim Sleep said before entertaining the crowd with traditional holiday music. “People will remember this all their lives … the experience of sledding, drinking hot chocolate and counting down to the new year.”

Indeed, many in the crowd started their New Year’s Eve festivities by taking their sleds to Rotary Hill and shooting down the path.

The Riverwalk Eatery opened from 5 to 7 p.m., serving hot chocolate and offering gift packages to children.

“This is our first time here,” Anna Oblazny said sitting in the Eatery with her children Nicholas and Michelle.

The family had planned a trip to New York, but Nicholas suffered a concussion that prevented traveling.

“It’s cold out, but then it’s winter,” Oblazny said.

Carl Woolward brought his daughter Rosie.

“It’s great to have something for the kids, because there is no way she’s staying up until midnight,” he said.

The snow didn’t bother Scott Faith, who brought his family.

“I’m pretty excited,” he said, taking special note of the beauty of the falling snow reflected in the lights around the Carillon. “We love the winter.”

Not even the slippery roads could scare off Faith.

“That’s why God made all-wheel drive,” he said.

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