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Funeral Plans Become Explosive and Elaborate

More and more people want to end life with a bang.

Gordon Bergin was an ordained minister whose funeral arrangements were part of an Independence Day celebration. To the delight of the crowd gathered for the show at Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota, Bergin's ashes traveled several hundred feet into the air and exploded "in a fiery display of post-mortem pyrotechnics. "Far from being an unusual event, the president of the Pyrotechnics Guild International reports that "requests for such displays has increased significantly over the last decade."

Funeral planning is beginning to rival wedding planning. Tributes, a company that provides elaborate "life celebrations" for the dearly departed, charges as much as $200,000 for their services. These planners provide help with securing speakers, catering, creating videos, building appropriate sets for the funeral, and supplying just about any creative element the client requests. One client, a former ice cream truck driver, had an ice cream truck lead his funeral procession, bells clanging all the way to the grave side. Another patron is working with a creative team to have her casket ascend skyward.

Sally Anderson, one of the owners of Tributes, promotes her services by stating, "It's allowing us to have more of an afterlife."

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