Preparations underway for largest Melaleuca Freedom Celebration in history - East Idaho News

Preparations underway for largest Melaleuca Freedom Celebration in history

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Watch our interview with Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot in the video player above.

IDAHO FALLS — The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is back for its 28th year and over 18,000 bright firework shells will be launched into the air Saturday night along the banks of the Snake River.

Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot says this year’s fireworks presentation will be the biggest Idaho has ever seen. The show will start at 10 p.m. at Snake River Landing. Ball Ventures, the owner of Snake River Landing, has made Idaho Falls the only city in America with a custom-built area for a world-class fireworks display.

“When we canceled the event last year due to Covid-19, I promised we would return this year with more firepower than ever before,” VanderSloot said. “I haven’t forgotten that commitment, and I can assure you that this will be an experience you’ll never forget.”

Officials estimate that 200,000 spectators are expected to watch the largest fireworks show west of the Mississippi River. The American Pyrotechnics Association has called the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration a “must-see Independence Day show for every fireworks aficionado!”

“Although the 28th Annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration may be off the beaten path in Idaho Falls, Idaho, it’s worth the effort to behold this remarkable, competition-caliber fireworks show. This is one of the nation’s largest fireworks displays, and it’s appeared twice on the APA’s list of ‘Must-See Independence Day Fireworks Displays,’ said APA’s executive director Julie Heckman.

Paying Tribute to America’s Heroes

Firing an average of 10 shells per second for 31 minutes, the event pays tribute to our Founding Fathers as well as the veterans, service members and their families who have sacrificed to secure and preserve the freedoms of this great nation.

The show pairs pyrotechnics with an emotional soundtrack that inspires patriotism and appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy in America. Along with the music, a narration takes the audience through key events in our nation’s history. The soundtrack is broadcast live on Classy 97.3 KLCE FM.

“In America, it’s easy to take our freedoms for granted,” VanderSloot says. “Sometimes we need to be reminded that freedom isn’t free. It came at a tremendous cost, not paid by us, but paid by the over 1 million men and women who have died in battle since 1776. The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration was created to honor those heroes and their families. Thirty-one minutes of tribute doesn’t seem like enough, but we hope it will create a feeling in our souls that will last all year long.”

Artistic Design

Western Display Fireworks will be producing the fireworks presentation for the 28th year. The show’s producers deliberate over every sequence to determine which firework will best amplify the mood of the soundtrack’s patriotic message. They use elaborate 3D modeling simulators to design the overall show, refining it hundreds of times over many months to create a pyrotechnic masterpiece.

To synchronize fireworks with the music note-for-note and shell-for-shell, the 28th Annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration relies upon the same technology used at the Olympics and elite fireworks competitions. The Galaxis Wireless Firing System synchs bursting fireworks within one one-hundredth of a second to the beats of music.

Made In the USA

Although nearly all of the world’s fireworks are manufactured in China, the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is announcing the majority of the fireworks in this year are made in the USA!

Sourcing this much product from an American commercial fireworks manufacturer is rarely done because of limited quantities and a hefty price tag between 25 to 100 percent more per shell than low-cost Chinese alternatives.

This year will showcase some of America’s finest fireworks, all of which are one-of-a-kind and custom-built for this show. It features entire “firework scenes,” which are created especially for the effect we want to have with the message of the soundtrack at that moment. These fireworks are labor-intensive because they are handcrafted to the highest quality standard and built specifically to this show’s specifications.

These special American-made fireworks are known for their bright, dramatic colors and their vibrancy. For example, pinks are not faded-out reds, but they are hot pink. Aquas are not light blues, but rather a distinctive aqua color.

“Because American-made fireworks are quite expensive, only the largest, purest sponsors of firework displays typically purchase them,” said Heather Gobet, a fifth-generation pyrotechnician charged with firing the show. “Because Melaleuca is willing to invest in the highest-premium American shells, this will be the first time we’ll launch a fireworks display that does not heavily depend on China.”

Spectators will notice the 28th Annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration has been re-designed to feature five separate firing zones (rather than three zones). These five zones span hundreds of feet across the elevated launch pad at Snake River Landing—the total expanse being wider than two football fields. This enables the show’s designers to use the entire night sky as an artist would use a canvas, launching fireworks across the night sky, breaking wider than a thousand big screens.

Snake River Landing: Built for World-Class Fireworks

Ball Ventures has made a huge investment to construct a 110-acre outdoor amphitheater designed exclusively for the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration. This idyllic setting along the banks of the Snake River provides an opportunity for people to not only witness the event first hand, but they will feel the ground shake with gigantic shells bursting above them in the night sky.

To get the best view, spectators should sit directly west of the fireworks launch pad. There are more than 70 acres of grass to find the perfect spot and ideal sightlines to watch the fireworks.

Spectators at Snake River Landing will listen to the soundtrack over a network of 100 wireless speakers that Melaleuca provides exclusively for this event.

Learn more about the 28th Annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration at For information about Riverfest, which offers a variety of live music, entertainment and food options throughout the day at Snake River Landing, visit

Event Parking and Traffic Flow

A comprehensive, master traffic plan has been developed by the event’s many partners, so when the fireworks conclude, traffic from each parking lot will flow in a pre-determined direction for maximum efficiency.

Prior to the event, visitors should review the event parking and traffic flow maps at to ensure they park in the ideal spot so they can efficiently leave the event with the flow of traffic. Event organizers encourage spectators to choose their parking spot with the end in mind.