Business owner Craig Foltos prepares to light up Batavia
|Barber Craig Foltos provides a precision haircut for his client and friend John Kraft, a Batavia business owner. (Sarah Vetter)|
Like the bar in the popular TV show “Cheers,” Foltos Tonsorial Parlor in Batavia is a place where everybody knows your name. Or, if they don’t yet know your name, Craig Foltos, owner of the barbershop on Wilson Street, will soon make sure they do.
Moving easily among his patrons, the charismatic Foltos obviously enjoys chatting, joking and sharing ideas with all those who sit in his barber chair for a haircut or quick trim. Foltos' dad bought the shop back in 1953, and after he passed away in 1976, his son took over running the family business.
Frequently tapped to lead community events – be it an ice cream-eating contest or a pet parade featuring wiener dogs dressed in plaid sweaters – Foltos has become something of a local celebrity. He’s now gearing up for his 15th stint as master of ceremonies for Batavia’s Celebration of Lights Festival.
"I think it’s because I do it here all day at work,” Foltos said. “I like people, I like to make people laugh and feel comfortable. I find the more energy you bring to it, the more meaningful that moment is for them."
The Celebration of Lights Festival, an official kick-off to the city’s holiday season, will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, at the Batavia Riverwalk at Houston Street and Island Avenue.
“We’ll be singing some wonderful Christmas carols, and we’ll introduce the mayor [Jeff Schielke], who will welcome Santa," Foltos explained. "We’ll have a big countdown to the community tree lighting and it’ll just be tons of fun."
Following the tree lighting, Santa’s Warming House at the Peg Bond Center will open, and children can visit with Santa.
Foltos, a barber, comedian, psychologist, philanthropist and the man chosen to help light up Batavia, loves being part of the community and getting to know people.
“My haircuts aren’t that good,” he mused. “I’ve gotta make 'em laugh so they’ll come back.” His clients, many of whom are now good friends, likely don’t agree about the haircuts. However, they do agree with Foltos that whether it's during the holidays or just a regular day, there’s no place like home.
For more information on Batavia’s Celebration of Lights Festival, contact the Batavia Park District at 630-879-5235 or visit www.bataviaparks.org.
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