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WATCH: Frank VanderSloot explains why Melaleuca Freedom Celebration is canceled

IDAHO FALLS — Frank VanderSloot says nobody is more upset than he is that the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration had to be canceled this year.
The CEO of Melaleuca made the announcement Thursday after he and others spent hundreds of hours considering possible ways to make what would have been the 28th annual fireworks show happen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“This is the biggest event in all of Idaho,” he says. “Over 200,000 people show up at Snake River Landing, and to bring all those people together at one time, we’re pretty sure we’d be causing some deaths to people who would catch the virus. We know coronavirus is there, and we anticipate it will still be there six weeks from now.”
VanderSloot consulted with fire officials and others about launching fireworks from a high ridge in the Ammon foothills. He hoped to shoot the “biggest shells in Idaho” that could be seen from 10 miles away.
But after doing research, measuring wind speeds and speaking with experts, the decision was made not to go forward.
“It’s too dangerous on that hillside. We became convinced we (would) put homes at risk and people’s lives at risk,” VanderSloot says. “Everybody wanted to make this happen. Everybody tried.”
VanderSloot realizes some people may be upset with the decision to cancel the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration, but he promises a “bigger and better” fireworks display in 2021.
“This is a tough time. Our nation has never been here before. Our families have never been here, and we hope we’re making the right decision. We believe we are,” he says.
Watch our entire conversation with Frank VanderSloot in the video player above.

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