We have a 100% chance of mortality. The Before I Die Bakersfield Festival fosters reflection about how we address death and dying. It provides space and opportunities to openly discuss end-of-life issues and learn from experts. We can improve the outcome of the actions we take to prepare for our mortality.

The event will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT at Greenlawn Southwest Cemetery, 2739 Panama Lane, Bakersfield, CA. All Festival events are free and open to the public. Download the Festival schedule here!

Here’s an outline of the day’s events:

10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Mortuary Mall welcome center with door prizes, caskets, urns, cremation jewelry, and other products on display in the Celebration of Life parking lot.

10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The Newly-Dead Game® and Death Cafe, conducted by Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death®. The audience plays along, answering questions about wills, final disposition preferences, advance medical directives, and thoughts on a final resting place. Expect surprises. Following is our Death Café, where death, cookies, tea and coffee make for interesting and even entertaining conversation.

11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.*  Cremation Retort Tour  (*repeated at 1:30 and 3:00)

A talk by a cremation expert explaining the process, with the opportunity to see what cremated remains look like before they are removed from the retort. Questions about scattering, environmental impact, creative things people do with cremated remains, and other issues will be answered.

12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.*  Mortuary Tour (*repeated at 2:15 and 3:45)

What’s behind those closed doors? We’ll open them up and show you, and answer ALL your questions, from embalming to casketing, and more. Nothing is off limits.

1:00 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Panel Discussions and Workshops

  • Estate Planning/End-of-Life Issues
  • What You Should Know About Hospice Care
  • Obituary Writing & Being Remembered
  • The “Woo-Woo” Side of Death
  • Laughing in the Face of Death: Funny Films for Funeral Planning.
  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Death **But Were Afraid to Ask

Download a PDF of the schedule for more details.

Undertaking Betty Star Trek5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Movie: Undertaking Betty

Undertaking Betty (2002 PG-13) is a romantic comedy with a behind-the-scenes look at two funeral homes in the small village of Wrottin-Powys in Wales. This funeral film offers a fun way to start funeral planning conversations by showing both traditional and highly outrageous personalized send-offs. There’s a Star Trek themed funeral! Popcorn? Oh, of course!