Buffalo Grove is Santa's village for local couple
Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus really exist.
But they don't reside at the North Pole. This Santa's village is Buffalo Grove.
Pete and Barb Kovacevich, who for years have portrayed Santa and his wife at suburban locations, will play the roles on the big stage Saturday when they help lead the parade at the 27th annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival in Chicago.
"It's a coup for us," Pete Kovacevich said of the event that will be televised at 6 p.m. on ABC 7. "It's going to be the largest mass media event we've ever done."
"We love what we do. It's a magical time, and we're excited about this particular opportunity," Barb Kovacevich added.
The couple, who refer to themselves as variety performers as well as the "Mr. and Mrs. of Merriment," said an agent arranged the gig.
"The powers that be like that we are married," Barb said.
They couple have been working as Mr. and Mrs. Claus for many years, including stints at Macy's in Oak Brook. Their company, Gala Events Entertainment, keeps them busy year-round. Just last week, Pete performed as a toy soldier -- while standing on stilts -- at a holiday celebration in Deer Park. Stilt walking is just one of Pete's specialties. A member of the Midwest Clown Hall of Fame for his work as Parky the Clown, his many characters include Pirate Pete and Peter O'Fool the Leprechaun. Pete also is a DJ, magician and balloon artist.
"I love working with children. Just the magic of it and the look in their eyes. when I'm doing balloons or magic," he said.
Pete entered the world of clowning as a teenager. Over the years, he added to his repertoire with stilts, costumes and an ever-growing cast of characters.
Entertaining has been part of the couple's relationship almost from the start.
"When Pete and I were first dating. he invited me to a clown convention," Barb said.
Eventually, Pete, who had worked with other Mrs. Clauses in the past, brought Barb into the act.
"We get to drive together, work together. When we drive home, we get to talk about the same experiences," she said.
Pete, 61, and Barb, 69, are aware that being Mr. and Mrs. Claus is not only fun, but it also carries an obligation.
"It's a huge responsibility because you are the man. It's not to be taken lightly," Pete said.
"You just want to be a positive person in their life," Barb added. "They've got dreams. It's your job to be the kindest person they're ever going to meet."