Yesterday, October 21, 2020, the infamous “Mayor” of South Warren Street turned 85. For the better half of the last six centuries, Joe Festa, has spent every birthday in his favorite place to be, the city of Trenton, and celebrates it with the community he has loved throughout his entire life.
“My birthday is good, like every day I’ve been here,” said Festa, “I have never had a bad day in Trenton.”
As the owner of State Barber Shop, located on 116 South Warren Street, Festa has been the go-to man in town for not only a new hair style, but guidance on the city, emotional support and a friendly face to talk to.
“Honestly, my specialty is making people feel good about themselves,” he said. “I love people.”
The hair cutting service Festa offers has never felt like a job. Being a barber is more than his life’s work, but a passion. He said, “When you think work is the biggest part of life, why can’t you enjoy it?”
He continued, “What I did with (my job) was turned it into a hobby. There is no more work for me.”
For Festa, the city of Trenton is more than just a place where he happens to live. This city is his home. He said, “The people that have businesses here, we’re like one big family.”
Over the years, Festa has seen many generations of people move in and out of Trenton. The one wish he has for his birthday is to see more young people move into town.
“For a young kid, my message would be, if you could pay rent, you could buy a property,” he said. “We gotta give these kids a shot at it, and that’s what we need.”
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