If you’ve traveled South Warren Street in Downtown Trenton, chances are you’ve encountered barber and local legend, Joe Festa. For over 60 years, Joe Festa has been serving the Trenton community, touching the hearts of hundreds of clients along the way. When you decide to have your hair cut at the State Barber Shop, you’ll walk away with much more than just a fresh trim. With humor, advice, and stories that have stood the test of time, a haircut with Joe is certain to be a memorable experience. From statesmen to businessmen and everyone in between, everyone is welcome at this special corner of our community. And now, the Mayor of South Warren Street is making it official.
On Wednesday, December 6th, friends, neighbors, and community members from all over Trenton gathered to celebrate the man of the hour, Joe Festa. To honor Joe’s legacy and commitment to the Capital City, the 100 block of South Warren Street has officially been dubbed Joe Festa Way. A fitting recognition for a man who has brought smiles to Trenton for over half a century, the aptly named Mayor of South Warren Street will forever be enshrined both in our streets and in the hearts of thousands all throughout the Capital City and beyond.
Reflecting on Festa’s achievements over the years, Butch Osterman, long-time Trenton stakeholder and friend of Festa, noted “Every time you come talk to Joe, there’s three things that are always a topic of conversation – his love of Trenton, his love of the barbershop, and the love of his family. He has so much knowledge, and he’s a great and humble guy. He grew up in Trenton, born and raised in Trenton. He talks passionately about his family and how much they mean to him. He always praises his family, but never praises himself, so I have to remind him that he’s a part of that too.”
Later in the afternoon, Mayor Gusciora, while joking that he was outranked by the Mayor of South Warren St., stated “I don’t think Joe has ever had a bad day, and he’ll tell you that as well. He loves everyone from all walks of life, and he loves being part of the Trenton fabric, being this institution here for well over 60 years.” Festa was also celebrated by a number of Trenton’s City Council, including Councilwoman Jennifer Williams, Council President Teska Frisby, Councilman Joe Harrison, and Councilwoman Jasi Edwards.
While dozens of folks gathered to share their stories and encounters with Mr. Festa, there was perhaps none more touching than the stories told by his own family. Lisa Hagan, Joe’s daughter, shared “It’s just so touching – we know him as our father, who’s taught us to be kind and always look for the good in people, to lift people up. And my dad’s been lifting people up on this street right here and changing lives for almost 60 years. Another thing my father has always taught us, and my sisters will tell you, and our whole family to the grandchildren, is that you respect the City of Trenton, especially this street, South Warren St. My dad would say to us, our little street is going to be on the map someday. And guess what, dad, you’re on the map today.”
While surrounded by his wife, children, grandchildren, and dozens of supporters, Joe Festa took to the podium to share his own inspiring message of hope: “You go and you look at our beautiful city and the history that we have in it. At one time, we had more industry than anybody in the world. But we’re ready to come back. And you can’t come back by yourself, we need a team effort. Trenton is beautiful – it’s wake-up time.”
After a resounding cheer from supporters lining up and down South Warren Street, it was finally time for the grand unveiling of Trenton’s latest thoroughfare. As the crowd gathered to the corner for the grand unveiling, members of the audience connected over their own encounters with Mr. Festa over the years. Surrounded by his family, friends, and leaders from the City of Trenton, the corner of South Warren Street was officially enshrined as Joe Festa Way.
Joe Festa’s impact on the Trenton community cannot be overstated. From the highest seats of government to friends and neighbors all throughout our community, almost every long-time resident of the Capital City has a story to share about Mr. Festa. A community icon who has spanned the generations, you can always rely on Joe Festa for a great haircut, even better advice, and a door that’s always open to anyone in need. As Joe himself said, he’s only getting started, and this latest accomplishment is a well-earned honor after over half a century of commitment to our community. Congratulations to Joe and the entire Festa family for this incredible achievement, and we cannot wait to take our next stroll down Joe Festa Way!