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“We are doing a series called ‘Around the World in Texas,’ focusing on cities with European names,” said Paige McCoy Smith, on-air talent with the WFAA show “Good Morning Texas.” Paris was third in the series, after Athens and Italy, but it remained a high priority for the series. “Paris was top on my list.”
People were encouraged to show up before 8:30 a.m., even though the segment did not start until after 9. Smith said the fact that a crowd was willing to show up on Monday morning shows a lot of support for the community.
“I think it’s great,” Mayor Matt Frierson said. “It’s another opportunity to tell people what Paris is all about – who we are and the wonderful things about the town itself.”
Main Street Coordinator Cheri Bedford, who did most of the coordinating work, said she was happy with the turnout and thrilled for the chance to show off Paris.
“This is a great opportunity,” she said. “We can showcase our history and the things going on. We’ve got a lot to brag about.”
Tourism Director Becky Semple said when she first heard Good Morning Texas was coming to Paris, she had a hard time believing the news.
“This is beyond exciting. This is so good for Paris,” she said. “Paris is being showcased as the beautiful destination it is.”
A film crew came to Paris a few weeks ago to shoot “B-roll,” stock footage used of the town in conjunction with the live shots.
“I’ve fallen in love with your town,” Smith said. “I love the culture. I love the friendly nature of everyone I meet. I love the history. It has so much to offer.”
She seemed especially taken with the museums, Santa Fe Depot, Eiffel Tower and 107.
Once the camera started rolling, the crowd yelled, “Bonjour, y’all!” and a beret-sporting Smith popped up from behind people holding letters that spelled “y’all.” The “bonjour” was behind her. Other signs abounded, including slick banners from Paris Regional Medical Center and Fit City Paris and handmade signs with messages such as “Bonjour, y’all,” “Welcome to Paris,” “We ❤ Paris” and “Read my sign.”
The final few minutes prior to going live were the busiest. Bedford had the crowd practice their “bonjour” a few times. Smith had everyone turn off their cell phones so as not to interfere with the live broadcast. Bedford coaxed those watching from the sidelines into the crowd on the fountain while Smith had a few try runs and offered some last-minute instructions.
“I want a lot of energy. You just can’t have a lot of whooping and hollering in a live interview,” Smith said. “I hate to seem so bossy. I’m sorry.”
After she spent about five minutes talking to the mayor and others downtown, the broadcast moved to Love Civic Center for some filming at the Eiffel Tower. Smith teased the segment from the Trolley de Paris – which almost didn’t make it when technical difficulties threatened to strand it downtown.
Smith closed her broadcast thanking the people there for their support of the community.
“Paris is a perfect place or a staycation. It has been my pleasure,” she said. Once the cameras stopped rolling, she gave Bedford a hug. “Cheri, you did it!”
If you missed the broadcast or just want to watch it again, be sure to check it out on the Good Morning Texas webpage.