If you expect to find the largest Fourth of July fireworks shows in big cities, you might be surprised to learn that Idaho Falls, Idaho actually delivers one of America’s biggest Independence Day fireworks shows.
The 21st Annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration will pack 17,261 shells into a 31-minute production. As measured by the number of shells fired into the sky, the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is the nation’s largest fireworks show west of the Mississippi and one of America’s biggest and best displays for raw pyrotechnic firepower. Reflecting over the water of the Snake River, this fireworks show averages 9.6 shells per second, all choreographed note for note and shell for shell with a moving arrangement of energy-packed music and patriotic messages.
Having earned a reputation as one of the top fireworks shows in the U.S., the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration has become an annual tradition for more than 150,000 enthusiasts from surrounding communities and from across the nation. With such a draw, the event regularly triples the city’s population.
The 2013 Melaleuca Freedom Celebration will be the largest fireworks show in Idaho since it became a state in 1890. The show’s sponsor, Melaleuca, adds to the show’s budget each year to assure it remains the largest show west of the Mississippi.
With free admission to the public, each year the program pays tribute to the sacrifice of the soldiers and their families who have sacrificed their lives and loved ones to secure and preserve the freedoms of this great nation.
The 2013 program theme and soundtrack will be broadcast live on KLCE Classy 97.3 FM. The show’s soundtrack will feature a mix of musical genres, including patriotic, pop, rock and country. Most importantly, the narration takes the audience through key events in our nation’s history, blending in voice recordings of famous heroes, statesmen and national leaders.
“We benefit every single day from the sacrifice of over a million people who gave their lives protecting our freedoms,” said Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot. “Sometimes we take their sacrifice for granted. At this celebration, we take 31 minutes to celebrate their courage and pay tribute to them and their families. It’s the least we can do. When people ask what a show like this costs, our answer is, ‘it costs absolutely nothing compared to the price that they paid for our freedom.’ ”
Using the latest technology to design and choreograph this fireworks display, the program synchronizes each shell with the musical score. Precision between the firework’s breathtaking explosions and the musical program on the radio is achieved because the fireworks are computer-fired. The choreographers paint the entire sky with low-level, mid-level and high-in-the-sky pyrotechnics. The show’s designers decide which pyrotechnic effects to use depending on the mood and tempo of the song or patriotic message at that particular moment.
This year’s show contains many new special effects, such as a “rapid-fire peacock red go-getter” that fires 540 shots in 8 seconds across the horizon in a zipping pattern. The “gold-rain crossettes” show brilliant stars splitting into numerous comets. And the “multi-colored falling leaves” will display waterfall patterns in thousands of colors.
Setting up the 2013 show will be a six-day process for the pyrotechnic experts at Western Display Fireworks, which annually produces 300 fireworks shows. They will construct the fireworks in four zones and test circuits to ensure a seamless shoot.
The fireworks will begin to light up the evening sky and reflect off the Snake River shortly after 10 p.m. The show entertains the immediate audience around the Idaho Falls Greenbelt and those located miles away.
An outdoor banquet, entertainment by the Freedom Symphony, an ensemble of local musicians, and speeches by Idaho dignitaries take place at a special event (tickets required) that begins at 7 p.m. at the Shilo Inn, 780 Lindsay Blvd., Idaho Falls. While the fireworks show is free, tickets to the banquet and symphony are available for purchase at the Melaleuca store at 330 N. Capital Ave. in Idaho Falls. Tickets are $28 for adults and $15 for children. For more details, visit www.freedomcelebration.com
Based in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Melaleuca: The Wellness Company is a manufacturer and distributor of more than 350 natural health, home cleaning, pharmaceutical and personal care products. Founded in 1985, Melaleuca generates $1 billion in annual revenue through a sales force that reaches households across the world.