2021 Melaleuca Freedom Celebration Returns Bigger Than Ever, Proudly Features Fireworks Made in the USA

Published online: Jul 01, 2021 Articles, Lifestyle
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IDAHO FALLS – The 28th Annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration—the largest Independence Day fireworks show west of the Mississippi River—will dazzle spectators with a high-flying, ground-shaking, adrenaline-filled fireworks display.

Beginning at 10 p.m. on July 3 at Snake River Landing, Melaleuca will launch over 18,000 brilliant shells into the night sky over the banks of the Snake River in honor of America’s Founding Fathers, veterans, and service members.

Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot announced this year’s Melaleuca Freedom Celebration will have more firepower than Idaho has ever seen. He also salutes Ball Ventures for making it possible for the community to enjoy a remarkable venue at Snake River Landing. Ball Ventures 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 fire power 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.”

Entirely free to the public, the 28th Annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration has been choreographed to create magical moments, spectacular crescendos, and rare special effects. The event is forecasted to attract an estimated 200,000 spectators to Snake River Landing and the immediate area, making it the largest event in Idaho by a significant margin.

“This show rivals the pyrotechnic giants of Boston, Washington D.C, and Philadelphia, as measured by the sheer number of shells in the air,” said Heather Gobet, a fifth-generation pyrotechnician charged with firing the show. “The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is regarded as one of the top fireworks shows in the nation.”

The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), which is the leading fireworks organization, monitors the best fireworks shows across the country. The APA’s executive director, Julie Heckman, made this assessment about the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration:

“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.’ … The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is a must-see Independence Day show for every fireworks aficionado!”

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 breathtaking 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, and it is well known that if you aren’t listening to the soundtrack, you simply miss the show.

When asked why Melaleuca funds it, VanderSloot answered, “In America, it’s easy to take our freedoms for granted. 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

The skill and creativity at Western Display Fireworks, the experienced pyrotechnicians who have fired this show for 28 years, cannot be underestimated. 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, where they were invented more than a thousand years ago, the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is proud to announce that the majority of the fireworks in the 28th Annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration 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.

In spite of these facts, the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration has spent the last two years collaborating with one of America’s top firework manufacturers to prepare for this show.

As a result, 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 hand crafted to the highest quality standard and built specifically to this show’s specifications. Much of this year’s fireworks inventory will only be featured here in Idaho and nowhere else in the world!

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 Gobet, whose company has fired more than 10,000 shows over 65 years. “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!”

Additionally, 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 sight lines 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 Freedomcelebration.com. For information about Riverfest, which offers a variety of live music, entertainment and food options throughout the day at Snake River Landing, visit riverfestidaho.com.

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 https://www.freedomcelebration.com/parking/ 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.

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