Balloons, websites, Facebook pages, baked goods, blue or pink clothing, and confetti are just a few of the ways expectant parents love to let their friends and families know the gender of their unborn child.
Expectant parents Ashley and Jon Sterkel in rural Nebraska decided to tape their gender reveal and post it on Facebook.
However, the local sheriff’s department was not too thrilled with how the Sterkels went about letting all of their friends and family on Facebook know—and inadvertently, their neighbors both close by and several miles away.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, the Sterkels wanted to do something unique for their gender reveal instead of the typical blue or pink cake, so they decided one-up other expectant parents by videotaping an exploding target filled with light blue powder.
Sterkel says the idea was to shoot the target with his rifle and when it exploded and released a cloud of blue chalk, he’d yell out, “It’s a boy!”
Only, the explosion did more than just end up on Facebook. It’s a misdemeanor that’s punishable by up to a year in jail, plus a fine. Lucky for Sterkel, he only ended up with a $1,000 fine from the sheriff’s department for setting off an explosive without a state permit. It turns out the explosion was so loud, neighbors could hear it from three miles away. Some said they thought it was either a house or a car exploding and called the police.
Sterkel said he heard the reports of the explosion on a radio station and called the police to explain what happened. He also posted an apology on Facebook and said he was not aware his actions were illegal.
"I would like to apologize for all of the confusion," he wrote. "This was just our way of announcing what gender our baby was."
Photograph by Facebook
"The explosives I bought are readily available in most department stores, and even most law enforcers I have spoken to are not aware that they are illegal," Sterkel told the BBC.
He also said he had detonated exploding targets on his remote farmland before without any problems.
Baby boy Sterkel is due June 16, but the couple says they definitely won’t announce his arrival with any more explosions.