Gender-reveal parties, where friends and families gather to learn whether an unborn child will be a boy or a girl, have become a growing trend among expectant parents.

Balloons and cakes in either pink or blue are popular ways of making the big reveal once the gender has been determined through ultrasound technology.

Gender-reveal games, mystery envelopes and even scavenger hunts have been used to heighten the fun.

But when a southern Bartholomew County couple settled on how to make their big announcement, their plan may have literally hosed all of the others.

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When Wayne Township firefighter Chandra Hollinger had the ultrasound performed that determined the baby’s sex, she brought along her aunt, Amanda Eden, Hollinger said.

Both Hollinger, 24, and the baby’s father, Brad Williams, 30, asked the physician to only inform Eden of the gender, Hollinger said. Neither the mother or father, who have both served Wayne Township as firefighters and paramedics for three years, wanted to know at that time.

The only people the aunt revealed her secret to were administrators at Wayne Township Fire-Rescue, who worked with Eden to bring the couple’s plan to fruition.

Hollinger and Williams then sent out invitations to family, friends and fellow firefighters to meet them in front of the fire station on County Road 450S.

About 25 people accepted and arrived at the fire station, located a half-mile east of Jonesville Road, at 2 p.m. March 11, Hollinger said.

Hollinger and Williams, who have been together for six years, got on board one of the department’s tanker engines for the announcement. Brad Williams’ two children from a previous relationship, Michael, 12, and Alyssa, 9, accompanied them, as well as the couple’s 3-year-old son, Brycen.

Nobody knew whether to expect a son/brother or a daughter/sister. But when the big reveal came, Williams pulled the lever while fellow firefighter Kyle Foist aimed the tanker’s hose high in the air.

Out shot a long steam of pink water that immediately unveiled to the world that a baby girl is her way.

“We were all crying and cheering when it happened,” Hollinger said. “We both wanted a girl. It’s going to be my parents’ first granddaughter.”

All three of their children also expressed excitement about having a baby sister, Hollinger said.

Since Hollinger holds the distinction of being the first active pregnant volunteer firefighter in Wayne Township history, both she and Williams wanted a unique way to make their announcement.

Now that the gender of their child, as well as her anticipated arrival date of Aug. 9, have been announced, the only question remaining is how they created the pink water.

The answer is Party Pool, a non-toxic, non-staining and non-caustic swimming pool water dye.

The color pink was achieved through trial and error, diluting of the tanker water with the Party Pool Rockin Red, Hollinger said.

Other colors available in the super-concentrated chlorinated additive are Blue Lagoon and Emerald Green.

The dye, which dissipates after three to five days, also contains a powerful water purifier that actually helps the pumps, Hollinger said.

“It’s a lot better than all the rust that comes out of the hydrants,” she said.

Wayne Township’s first pregnant firefighter is willing to battle blazes for her neighbors when necessary. However, Hollinger said the idea of spending a hot Indiana summer while in her final trimester is a little scary to her.

“I’m not ready for that heat,” Hollinger said.

Pull Quote

“We both wanted a girl. It’s going to be my parents’ first granddaughter.”

— Wayne Township firefighter Chandra Hollinger

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.