Fourth of July fireworks

Friends take photos of each other during the Freedom Celebration and Riverfest on Wednesday, July 4, 2018.

Parties, a parade, horse racing, baseball and a fireworks show that claims to be the largest west of the Mississippi. It’s Fourth of July in Idaho Falls.

Here’s what you need to know to plan your Independence Day activities.

Idaho Falls’ historic Fourth of July celebration begins at 7:15 a.m. Thursday with the 13th annual FireKracker 5K run/walk, which follows the parade route. Proceeds benefit the Military Affairs Committee.

At 9 a.m., the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce will host the Liberty on Parade. No, the new roundabout on South Boulevard did not change the parade route.

Three events begin at noon. Ida Racing will host horse racing at Sandy Downs. Scotty’s Drive-In will host its annual Independence Day Celebration. And Snake River Landing will host Riverfest, a family-friendly festival, with bounce houses, live music, food, helicopter rides and other festivities. The festival goes until 9 p.m.

At 4:30 p.m., the Idaho Falls Chukars, who are hotter than an illegal Wyoming bottle rocket, winning 12 of their first 13 games, will host the Ogden Raptors at Melaleuca Field.

As always, the day will close with the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, a fireworks show, which is, without a doubt, the largest on the Snake River. The show starts at 10 p.m. at Snake River Landing.

Liberty on Parade

The theme of this year’s Liberty on Parade is “Empowering the Future.”

At 8:30 a.m., the Chamber will host an opening ceremony, where it will bestow awards on this year’s best parade entries.

There are 132 entries, including floats, vehicles and marching groups.

Idaho National Laboratory will lead the parade, as this year’s title sponsor. INL Director Mark Peters is the parade’s grand marshal, a position chosen by a Chamber of Commerce committee, according to Lois Mackes, the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce’s business operations manager.

“It seemed to fit this year because of the 70th anniversary of INL,” Mackes said.

The parade will follow its traditional route. It will travel west on Fourth Street from Holmes Avenue, turn south on South Boulevard and end at the intersection of Rogers Street and South Boulevard.

The Chamber asks that drivers avoid using Holmes Avenue between First Street and Ninth Street between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. “No parking” will be implemented along the parade route starting at 4 a.m. on Thursday. Any vehicle parked on the parade route at 5 a.m. Thursday will be towed at the owner’s expense.

All vehicles parked on Third and Fourth streets (east of Holmes Avenue) and vehicles parked on John Adams Parkway (between Holmes Avenue and Tiger Avenue) must be moved off the roadway by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

All vehicles parked in the Idaho Falls School District 91 office and Civic Auditorium parking lots need to move from the area by 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Melaleuca Freedom Celebration

For the third year in a row, Melaleuca’s firework show will be held at Snake River Landing. While the 18,000-firework show can be seen from around the city, Snake River Landing will provide the best vantage point.

The free show — which can be viewed from a 110-acre amphitheater, designed specifically for the show, or grass viewing areas — begins at 10 p.m. and will last 31 minutes.

The event pays tribute to military members who died while in service.

“We are celebrating liberty while remembering the ultimate price paid by men and women who we’ll never know and whose stories will never be told,” said Frank VanderSloot, Melaleuca’s CEO, in a news release.

Last year, the event brought more than 200,000 people to Idaho Falls, according to Melaleuca, and more are expected this year.

There will be more than 150 acres of parking for the event. Parking lots will be designated by the direction of traffic flow at the conclusion of the event.

For cars coming from north, west or central Idaho Falls and Ammon, parking is recommended in lots N1, N2, N3, N4, N6, N7, N8 or N9, along Pier View Drive and Whitewater Drive.

Cars looking to exit the event south on Yellowstone Highway traveling to southeast Idaho Falls or Ammon should park in south lots S1 or S2 along W. Sunnyside Road.

Travelers from the Rexburg area or southwest or northwest Idaho Falls should park in lots S2 and S3 along Pioneer Lane.

Handicap parking is available just east of lot N8 along Pier View Drive. A shuttle service will transport passengers from the handicap parking lot to the Waterfront. The shuttle service begins at noon. There will be no shuttle service following the fireworks show.

Reporter Ryan Suppe can be reached at 208-542-6762. Follow him on Twitter: @salsuppe.