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Nov. 29, 2023: We speak of the trees

A few of the 120+ decorated trees at The Festival of Trees at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield.
Kaliis Smith
A few of the 120+ decorated trees at The Festival of Trees at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield.

Bring on the lorax, cause we’re headed for the trees!

First a dairy farm of yore that now grows Christmas trees and agrotourism in Hancock. Ioka Valley Farm has been focused on all the trees can give us, from holiday delights to maple treats, and more. We speak with Missy Leab about keeping visitors at the farm year round, and how the concerns of agriculture are different when your crop is arboreal.

Then we put the real trees aside to check out the bespoke offerings at the Festival of Trees. The event raises money for the Springfield Boys & Girls Club each year, with businesses, families, and individuals all contributing themed decorated trees to the event, which are then raffled off to the public when the display is over. We speak with event chairperson Stacy Magiera about her favorites, the longevity of the event, and why she’s stayed involved with the festival for two decades.

Plus Mr. Universe, Hampshire College Astronomer/professor Salman Hameed, puts on his film buff hat to chat about the latest film of one of his institution’s most famous alums: Ken Burns.

Christopher “Monte'' Belmonte is host and executive producer of NEPM's The Fabulous 413. He was born and raised in Massachusetts and has been a radio host in western Massachusetts for the last 20 years — the last 17 of them as host of Mornings with Monte on The River 93.9/WRSI.
Kaliis Smith is a radio host and producer for NEPM's The Fabulous 413. She was most recently host and producer at The River 93.9/WRSI where she appeared on Mornings with Monte for the Nerdwatch segment and hosted weekday evenings.