MONMOUTH — Arriving at Friends’ Folly Farm, it feels like visiting a family member — one who has, bright-eyed angora goats munching in the barnyard on hay. 

It is not a typical holiday shopping location. 

At Yuletide in a Yurt, there is no pavement, no bar codes, no dings or squeaks at the checkout line — though there may still be a line. 

After parking on the front lawn, shoppers are directed behind the farmhouse, past the barn, to a 30-foot yurt. 

“It feels good to come here,” said shopper Kate Merrill. “I think it might seem small to other people, but it is like coming to other people’s backyard. 

“It feels like a secret,” she said.

Guests enter Sunday a yurt at Friends Folly Farm. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

Inside, handcrafted works — wood turnings, ornaments, metal work, soaps, crafted fiber, upcycled and recycled goods — lines the circular building. 

Around 40 artisans have their work displayed in the show, said Kathy Perless, the artistic director. And the work is made locally within a 50 mile radius of the farm. 

The show is open multiple weekends, and as product is purchased, more work from artisans gets added, Perless said. 

Toting her 9-month-old daughter, Hyacinth Sanni, Merrill was visiting Yuletide in the Yurt for the fourth year. She, along with her mother and sisters, make it tradition to come after Thanksgiving, and some years, she said, they come multiple times. 

“There is no other place like it,” said Merrill. “(The owners) support people who desire to make.”

For the artisans whose work is featured, crafting is not their primary trade, said Marcia Marron, who owns Friends’ Folly Farm with Pogo, who said she goes by one name. 

“They can make a little money to buy their supplies and continue their hobby,” said Pogo. “This may be the only place you’ll see their stuff.”

Granite and other stone pieces on display were carved by a landscaper in Windsor. Wooden spoons made from lilac, cherry and other wood keep a woman busy after dinner by her fire. 

“It is a whole other way of thinking when you start looking at craft and art versus just giving a gift,” said Perless. “It is giving something of yourself, of what you believe in.”

The show is commissioned, and the artists supply their work, which Perless said she arranges. The artists are not in attendance, which is useful for artists who have day jobs or sell at craft fairs.

Pauline Therriault of Monmouth and her daughter, Theresa Parker of Turner, have attended Yuletide in a Yurt every year since it started. 

Pogo on Sunday inside a dome full of items for sale at her farm, Friends Folly, in Monmouth. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

“We appreciate fine, handmade items and the local touch,” said Therriault.

Yuletide in a Yurt is in its seventh year, Perless said, and it had 24 artisans the first year. She and the owners of started the show when they became semi-retired. 

Marron said she and Pogo started the farm  in 1988. In the height of their farming, they had around 50 angora goats, ran a fiber mill for 19 years, and sold the mohair in the yurt, Marron said. 

Now they are down to nine angora goats, she said, and the yurt is used for the artisan show and workshops.

“The yurt has no corners, so it can be a challenge to set up,” said Pogo.

Perless said that usually around 100 people attend the show each day, and Pogo said that Small Business Saturday was “crazy.” 

The show is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 29 to Dec. 22 at 319 Norris Hill Road. 


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