For the fifth consecutive year, 150,000 votes were cast and the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration was named the Best Annual Event by Idaho Falls newspaper, the Post Register.
This year’s display featured 18,315 explosive American-made shells flying over the Snake River for more than 200,000 spectators — still by far the largest fireworks show west of the Mississippi.
This year marked the event’s 30th anniversary. For three decades, the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration has been paying tribute to the nation’s Founding Fathers and valiant military members with high-flying pyrotechnics perfectly choreographed note for note and shell for shell with an inspiring patriotic soundtrack.
The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration isn’t just an East Idaho event or a quaint local affair; this tribute to America’s heroes spectacular has been recognized by national entities, including USA Today, Reader’s Digest and Travel + Leisure magazine. And it has been twice highlighted by the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) on their must-see list of fireworks shows.
Speaking about the 28th Annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, APA director Julie Heckman said, “Although the 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 has only gotten bigger with each year.
But this remarkable newsworthy event is about more than just explosions and entertainment. Melaleuca executive chairman Frank VanderSloot hopes that the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration can help spectators reflect on America’s history and the principles that its citizens strive to live by. “The combination of fireworks, music and message provides magical moments of reflection and an opportunity to re-pledge allegiance to the flag that represents our nation,” he said. “On a different level, it’s a heartfelt, unifying event for the community—but more importantly, it’s a tribute of gratitude to America’s heroes.”