Snake River Landing new location for Melaleuca Freedom Celebration
Jerry GarnsMelaleuca, which has its headquarters in Idaho Falls, sponsors the yearly Melaleuca Freedom Celebration fireworks show on the Fourth of July. This year the show is at a new location — Snake River Landing.
IDAHO FALLS — This year’s Melaleuca Freedom Celebration will be unlike any other fireworks show in Idaho Falls’ history. This is the show’s 25th year. Not only does the 25th anniversary promise to deliver far more firepower and a more dazzling pyrotechnic display than ever before, but it will do so from a new location along the banks of the Snake River, namely the Snake River Landing.
Snake River Landing is fewer than two miles south of the previous launch site at the Johns Hole boat dock. It offers several restaurants, clear sight lines in every direction, plenty of space throughout its 450-acre development for attendees to park and spread out, and the capacity to accommodate tens of thousands of people.
The wide-open spaces of Snake River Landing will allow Melaleuca to launch much larger shells with a much larger array of special effects than were available at the previous launch site.
These pyrotechnic enhancements are now possible because the new site at Snake River Landing provides a larger fallout area to safely catch debris from higher fireworks. Plus, the new site offers a 300-foot firing line on the ground so multiple fireworks zones can be launched simultaneously.
In preparation for the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, Snake River Landing will provide more than 125 acres of parking for the event.
The Need for a New Location
Because of growing trees and the vicinity of homes and other structures, Melaleuca has reluctantly been forced to choose a new launch site. The ideal fireworks show uses the entire sky in the same way an artist uses a canvas.
The idea is to have shells firing in the lower sky, the middle sky and the upper sky and to have those shots choreographed note-for-note and shell-for-shell with the music and messages being broadcast over the radio.
Over the past 20 years, the trees along the Greenbelt have grown to the point that they obstruct the view of much of the lower fireworks.
And the closeness of the homes to the launch site prohibited Melaleuca from firing larger fireworks that would normally light up the upper sky. Those factors meant Melaleuca could only use medium-size shells in the center of the sky for its show.
And although Idaho Falls witnessed more shells in 31 minutes than any other city west of the Mississippi, the site limited Melaleuca’s ability to use the latest pyrotechnic technology for the phenomenal special effects, which always take larger shells.
Further, because of the closeness of the homes and other buildings to the launch site, there is not much tolerance for wind. In Idaho Falls, there are often winds that come up in the evening.
And although there’s only been one year where the fireworks have had to be shut down because of the wind, each year the fire marshal and the pyrotechnicians hold their breath and never know until the last minute whether the winds are going to die off enough to launch the show.
With the trees getting larger, and no reason to believe that the winds in southeast Idaho are going to change over time, Melaleuca has found itself in a situation of being forced to choose a new location.
Over the past several months, Melaleuca has been working with city and county officials, the Idaho Falls Fire and Police Departments and the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office to determine the ideal location from which to launch the biggest fireworks show west of the Mississippi. After an intense selection process, Snake River Landing has been chosen as the event’s home for the next several years.
History of Paying Tribute to Our Veterans
Melaleuca has been hosting the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration since 1992. From 1992 to 2000, the show was billed as the third-largest show west of the Mississippi. In May 2000, Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot announced that he was tired of having to say “third-largest” and committed to expand the show to be the largest show west of the Mississippi.
Since then, Melaleuca has been monitoring the other major fireworks shows throughout the West. Melaleuca has consistently expanded its show each year to stay in front of other competing cities including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver and Houston.
Each year Melaleuca has expanded the show to make each year a little better than the previous year. But this year, on its 25th anniversary, the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration will expand its budget by more than 30 percent over the previous year.