Melaleuca Freedom Celebration named one of the top must-see fireworks displays in America

IDAHO FALLS — The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) has named the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration as one of the top five must-see Independence Day fireworks displays in America.

The list, released Wednesday, includes recommendations “for the most avid of fireworks fans” to consider this 4th of July. The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is the only display in the western United States to make the list.

“Every year we’re looking for something new and different that is spectacular and draws a large crowd of spectators,” said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association. “The size of the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration and the location really jumped out to us. It’s one of those shows that’s worth making the jaunt to see.”

The APA estimates more than 16,000 fireworks displays will commemorate America’s 241st birthday nationwide next Tuesday. The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, being held at Snake River Landing for the first time, is expected to draw more than 100,000 spectators from all over the world.

“The fact that the show is going to be enhanced this year makes it extra special,” Heckman said.

Twenty thousand firework shells totaling 17,000 pounds of explosives will be shot into the air during the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, according to Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot.

“This year we’re more than doubling the size of the show,” VanderSloot said. “The fireworks used to be brought in on one 40-foot trailer. This year two 53-foot trucks are needed to bring them all in. It’s an enormous amount of firepower.”

The 31 minute production is being produced by Western Display Fireworks. The same firing system used during the Winter Olympics will shoot off the explosives synchronized to 1/100th of a second to match patriotic music.

“We’re bringing in a special pyrotechnician from Frankfurt, Germany to shoot this off,” VanderSloot said. “He does fireworks competitions all over the world and is the best and the biggest.”

The fireworks will be placed on a launchpad 40 times larger than previous years. The platform is one and a half times the length of a football field and the space will be utilized to accommodate the massive number of shells.

“It’s like going from a 10 inch screen to a 100 inch screen in your living room,” VanderSloot said. “We’re going to paint the entire sky – the lower section, the middle section and, for the first time, the higher section. You’re not going to want to miss this show.”