Thousands Take In Fourth’s Warm Weather, Festivities and Sights

Idaho Falls Post Register
Printed on: July 05, 2012
By Nate Sunderland

The pop and fizzle of fireworks reminds spectator Mollyanne Hopkins of gunfire from the many wars fought by the United States. The bright splash of color in the night sky reminds her of the victories won on her behalf.

Hopkins’ love of her country was her primary motivation for attending Wednesday’s Melaleuca Freedom Celebration.

“I’m celebrating the birth of the country that I love,” she said. “This country is a gift from God, and I am so grateful for it.”

Hopkins, a resident of Cache Valley, Utah, watched the celebration with her daughter and grandchildren.

“It’s a half-hour of absolute bliss with no interruptions,” Hopkins said. “The whole thing is such a pleasurable experience and it gives you such a rush of joy to live in this country.”

The 31-minute display of fireworks featured 17,153 shells shot into the night sky.

Thousands of people from around eastern Idaho and out of state attended the event.

Finding a good seat for the show was tricky, though.

Many attendees arrive along or near the greenbelt early in the day. Others stake a claim the night before or even a full day in advance.

Carl Murray planted a blanket alongside the river at midnight early Wednesday morning. It was his family’s third year in what they call the perfect spot.

“We like where the trash cans are, where the bathrooms are and the openness of the trees,” Murray said.

The family of four made an entire day of the event, visiting the various food and entertainment vendors along the greenbelt.

“We like the booths; they are a lot of fun,” Murray said.

Many vendors reported that the Independence Day celebration was a commercial success.

Brad and Judy Price own Pronto Pups, a vendor that sells fresh-dipped corn dogs. They’ve been coming to the celebration for five years and have seen a small increase in business every year.

“The public just likes to get out and enjoy themselves and get a few good things to eat,” Judy Price said.

Brad Price appreciated the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce’s effort in organizing the vendors.

“The chamber has gotten really good at varying the different kinds of food at the celebration,” he said.

While some people hung out with family, others got together with friends.

One group of Brigham Young University-Idaho students passed the time waiting for the fireworks by playing cards and serenading each other on a ukulele.

It was the first time Mark Allen and Todd Taylor attended the event.

“It’s supposed to be the best firework show west of the Mississippi … so we are expecting to be blown away,” Allen said. “It should be a pretty good show.”

Taylor said he’s just happy to be near friends at a cool event.

“It’s close to home and it’s the supposed to be the best firework show around,” he said.