PORT ANGELES, Wash. — The cake and presents sit completely ignored at this birthday celebration on the Olympic Peninsula.
What's about to blast out of the cannon is the star of this party.
"My name is Nicole Merrigan and this is Strait Up Foam Fun, and it is a party foam entertainment business,” said the busy woman preparing to blast bubbles onto happy kids.
This Port Angeles mom of five got into the bubble business as phase one of her plan to open a family entertainment center in town.
“We have a countdown, and then I hit the switch on the cannon and within a couple of seconds it’s just spraying out of there and the kids start screaming, I mean it’s just full-on screaming.”
It's been like this ever since Strait Up Foam Fun did its first party this summer.
"It was just unbelievable, the kids were just laughing and playing, by the time I got done with it my face hurt from smiling so much,” Nicole said.
It's a family business — sometimes Nicole's husband Nick does cannon duty. Besides being fun, the foam's hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and safe for grass. It rinses away easily, 5 to 6 feet vanish in seconds when it’s hit by a hose.
Burying kids in bubbles isn't just business, Nicole's in it for something bigger.
"What I can give back to the community, 100 percent."
The Port Angeles community helped her when she lost part of her jaw to squamous cell carcinoma.
“I had stage 4 cancer at one point and had to access resources to get through all of those, you know, life situations. And I look at my town and I want to give back to it what it was able to give to me,” she said.
As the 'all clear' date on the cancer gets closer, building that family entertainment center — on a base of bubbles — is how Nicole plans on giving back. And she's already gotten one sign that she's a step closer to her dream.
“The other day I was called That Foam Lady!” she laughed.
And as the 'Foam Lady' works on that plan, bubble by bubble, her customers aren't the only ones who are having a blast: “Right now I’m happy and healthy and living life up!" said Nicole as she prepared to spray the screaming crowd with more bubbles.