Riverfest & Melaleuca Freedom Celebration - Public Safety Information
The annual Riverfest and Melaleuca Freedom Celebration events take place at Snake River Landing. For full details from the event organizers regarding the schedule of events, visit their respective websites. Crowds begin gathering at Snake River Landing in the early afternoon and continue to grow throughout the evening. In 2021, event organizers estimated that over 200,000 people gathered in and around Snake River Landing to watch the fireworks display.
Due to the large number of people in the area, cell phone service at Snake River Landing becomes unreliable in the early to late evening and continues until after the majority of attendees have dispersed after the fireworks. Attendees should plan to be unable to send text messages or place phone calls during this time period. It is wise to discuss safety plans with children and adults in your group, including child safety, where you will meet if you are separated, and where to seek emergency assistance at the event if you cannot place a call to 911.
Idaho Falls Police Officers will be roving through Snake River Landing on bike and on foot throughout the event. A manned post of IFPD Officers will be located at the Northeast corner of Snake River Parkway and Event Center Drive starting in the early afternoon for Riverfest and the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration. Look for the blue Idaho Falls Police canopy.
South Tourist Park and Ryder Park serve as command posts for emergency personnel from the Idaho Falls Police Department, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, and the Idaho Falls Fire Department. In order for emergency vehicles to respond quickly in the event of an emergency, South Tourist Park and Ryder Park will be closed to all public vehicles, boats & campers/RVs beginning July 3rd at noon. South Tourist Park and the adjacent River Walk/Greenbelt will remain open for foot/bicycle traffic. The parks will reopen to vehicles boats and camping at noon on July 5th.
As a reminder to attendees, Snake River Landing is private property and the venue is being made available for the public. Attendees are encouraged to be respectful of private property, and to be cooperative with all Snake River Landing staff, private security and City of Idaho Falls staff working to ensure an enjoyable and safe celebration. Anyone found not complying with rules or laws may be asked to leave. For the safety of all attendees and to limit potential disruption to the fireworks display, the following rules are in effect during the event:
- NO PERSONAL FIREWORKS: Due to the location of the fireworks launch site and Riverfest, the highly congested and grassy areas around Snake River Landing, and for the safety of persons attending the event, the Fire Marshal has restricted any and all personal fireworks, including sparklers, from Lochsa Drive, south to Sunnyside Drive, and from the Capital Avenue River Walk west to the Porter Canal.
- NO DRONES: Community members are asked not to fly drones at any of the Independence Day festivities, and are reminded that flying drones in the airspace around Snake River Landing on the 4th of July is prohibited due to helicopters already in the airspace. Flying personal drones creates unsafe situations for helicopters that have reserved the airspace with the FAA, and also for first responder use of drones in emergency situations.
- NO ALCOHOL: Event organizers and property owners have prohibited all alcohol at Snake River Landing.
- NO ATV’s: No private ATVs, dirt bikes, go carts or other motorized vehicles will be permitted at Snake River Landing.
- WATER SAFETY: People are asked to stay out of the river, canals and water features in and around Snake River Landing, including the Snake River. The waterways may look refreshing on a hot day, but there are many hidden dangers and water levels are high and fast. Water features at Snake River Landing may contain additives that are unsafe for people and pets.
- EMERGENCY TRAFFIC: Keep emergency vehicle lanes open to allow public safety personnel to respond quickly and safely. When needed, please make safe efforts to make space for public safety personnel to get through quickly, whether on foot, bike, or in a vehicle.
Those attending the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration should plan to arrive early and should not expect to access Snake River Landing at the last minute. Attendees should review the Parking & Exiting Map provided by event organizers for recommended parking areas based on your destination following the fireworks. When the fireworks conclude, traffic from each parking lot will flow in a pre-determined direction. Be sure to choose a parking lot that will exit in the direction you need to go after the show.
Any unmarked areas are “No Parking”. Please only park in the indicated spaces or lots to allow for emergency vehicle access throughout the event area. There is no on-street parking allowed anywhere on Snake River Pkwy, Pioneer Road, Event Center Drive, or Sunnyside between I-15 and Yellowstone Hwy, and Yellowstone Hwy between Sunnyside and Pancheri at any time on the 4th of July. Vehicles parked in these areas risk towing or citation.
Complex traffic plans have been put in place through partnerships with Snake River Landing and event organizers, the Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho State Police, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, City of Idaho Falls, and the Idaho Falls Police Department.
Traffic plans have been created to maximize safety and efficiency as people are exiting the Snake River Landing area following the fireworks. However, given the hundreds of thousands of attendees at this event, even the most efficient traffic exit plans will take time. Routes in and around Idaho Falls will be restricted, and certain parking lots will allow for faster exits to certain locations. Information about parking lot designations is available at www.freedomcelebration.com.
Due to the greatly increased number of people in the city, remember to remain patient in slow-moving traffic. Drivers should slow down, focus on driving, avoid distractions, watch for pedestrians, and bicyclists, obey all traffic laws, special holiday parking and traffic restrictions. Drivers should not attempt to go around cones or barricaded areas and should obey directions from law enforcement and designated traffic officials.