LILY DALE - Mediums, spiritualists, healers and many others are making the pilgrimage to Chautauqua County this summer as the Lily Dale Assembly celebrates its 133rd year.
Located on the east side of Upper Cassadaga Lake, Lily Dale has been a hot spot for spiritualists since the early 1900s. The year-round population is estimated to be close to 300, but each year there are approximately 22,000 visitors who come to the area for classes, workshops, services, mediumship demonstrations, lectures and private appointments.
Lily Dale has more than 40 registered mediums on site. Many of the mediums are available for spiritual consultations and readings and participate in lecture events in Lily Dale. The mediums individually set their appointments and fees, with rates beginning at $45. Visitors interested in appointments with mediums are asked to contact the mediums directly.
The 133rd Lily Dale Assembly is expected to draw 22,000 visitors this year for classes, workshops, services, mediumship demonstrations, lectures and private appointments. The season runs through Sept. 2.
Many of the mediums that reside in Lily Dale have lived there for decades and come from a lineage of mediums. Gretchen Clark, for example, is a NSAC certified medium and registered medium in Lily Dale who has been offering her services since 1976. She was recently featured in the HBO documentary, "No One Dies In Lily Dale."
Daily events on the ground include meditation services, video presentations in the library, healing services, mediumship demonstrations and auditorium services featuring a speaker and a clairvoyant.
Upcoming weekly and special events include Friday Night Drumming with Craig Thomson. Weather permitting, every Friday night visitors are invited to Lily Dale Beach to partake in drumming or simply spectate. Spirit walks are held weekly at a cost of $25 per person. These two-hour night walks take visitors on a tour of Lily Dale beginning at the auditorium, giving attendees a brief history of how the community became the world's largest center for the Spiritualist religion.
Open sweat lodge ceremonies, also included in the price of a gate pass, are held on a semi-regular basis as well. These ceremonies have been used by many Native American tribes as well as the Celts as a way to pray to the divine. These ceremonies can last anywhere from under an hour to several hours depending on the leader as well as the attendees.
A daily pass good for 24 hours in the Lily Dale Assembly is $10 per person; weekly passes are $50 per person; a season pass is $195 per person. Active military members with proper ID, children 18 or younger entering with a paying adult and visitors age 80 or older are admitted free of charge. Gate passes include free parking, all daily activities, noted weekly activities and all attractions unless otherwise noted. Gate passes do not allow sleeping in vehicles or on the Lily Dale grounds.
For more information about the Lily Dale Assembly, including detailed information about the summer schedule including daily speakers, medium information, accommodations and more, visit www.lilydaleassembly.com.