IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The 29th annual Melaleuca Freedom Celebration show is still getting prepared for perhaps their largest show yet with a plan to launch more than 18,000 fireworks into the Idaho Falls night sky.
The show has been going on for nearly 30 years and has grown over the years. With this year promising to be "the largest show that we've ever had in ever in Idaho," Melaleuca Executive Chairman Frank VanderSloot said.
VanderSloot says the show has its roots in his personal love for the July Fourth Holiday.
"The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. And I grew up in northern Idaho and my parents didn't have a very big checkbook. And so we were limited to some of the firecrackers that today, I think, aren't legal anymore. But and we did our own sparklers, but it was a big deal to us. And so we may have had 20 firecrackers to set off."
He adds they were creative with how they celebrated as well.
"We found innovative ways to blow up pop cans and, you know, put put them in pipes and do stuff. Anyway, it was a great day and then it's kind of grown since then."
The Melaleuca Freedom Celebration also has "just grown and grown" VanderSloot says. One of the ways this show has grown is through the sheer volume of Fireworks they launch into the sky.
"The budget is bigger and the number of shells is more. So we measure the size of the show by the sheer number of shells in the air. And, you know, we've we've upgraded the size of shells that we have. We could when we were doing it off the off the riverbanks downtown, we couldn't do nearly the size of shells that we do today," he said.
It's through that number of shells they launch into the night sky that Vandersloot says they can make the claim that this show is "the largest show guaranteed, the largest show measured by sheer number of shows in the air west of the Mississippi. And we're very excited to be able to show the American people and everybody who shows up here in Idaho Falls."
The show will start shortly after 10 p.m. on July 4 at the Snake River Landing in downtown Idaho Falls. VanderSloot says if you make it to the area, you will experience the show differently than most.
"Every shell that goes, you feel the ground shake. I mean, it's all around you. It's right above you in this sky."
VanderSloot and others at Melaleuca and with the city say they expect more than 200,000 people coming to see the show. He says they have planned with local law enforcement and Idaho Falls city officials to make a plan for parking and traffic flow once the Finale of the show has taken place.