But the reveal — which involved a homemade explosive device — went horribly wrong, shooting metal shrapnel toward the family standing 45 feet away.
Pamela Kreimeyer, 56, was struck in the head. She died on impact, officials said.
“The family got together for what they thought was going to be a happy event with no intent for anyone to get hurt,” Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt said in a statement. “What ended up happening was that Pamela Kreimeyer, a wife, mother and grandmother was killed by a piece of metal where a metal stand, gunpowder and colored powder were involved.”
“Gender reveal” parties have become an obsession for people trying find creative ways to tell the world the sex of the baby they are expecting. Often, these grand reveals are made for social media moments that involve displays of pink or blue.
That’s what the Kreimeyer family had planned for.
They spent Friday and Saturday preparing for the moment, according to law enforcement. The family had welded a homemade stand, which was filled with gunpowder, to a metal base. They drilled a hole for a fuse and placed a piece of wood on top of the metal stand. Colored powder was then layered on top of the wood.
Then, they put tape on top of the entire assembly, which “inadvertently created a pipe bomb,” authorities said.
Around 4 p.m. Saturday, they lit the fuse.
Rather than shooting the colored powder into the air, the contraption exploded outward. A piece of metal struck Pamela Kreimeyer in the head before landing in a nearby field, according to the sheriff’s department.
The explosion remains under investigation.
“This is a reminder that anytime someone mixes these things there is a high potential for serious injury or death. Please do not take these risks,” Sandholdt said in a statement. “My condolences go out to the family.”