INDIANAPOLIS — Garden Pardi is the most anticipated party of 2021. 600 tickets to the July party at the Lucas Estate went on sale last week, and the event sold out in less than a minute.
"When I tell you that I hit the refresh to see like, where we were with tickets, when it said sold out, immediately sent a text, and I think I sent that at 8:01," Kelli Jones said. "No, you actually sent that at eight on the dot," Jeff Williams recalled.
The anticipation of the first ever summer Garden Pardi comes after the success of Pardi Gras, which took place the last four Februarys before the pandemic. The event that started with a crowd of 400 guests swelled in 2020 to party of 2,500 Hoosiers in downtown Indianapolis.
"I'd say it is a celebration of Black Excellence. I'd say that it's a magnetic experience. Where it's joy, no conflict, and all celebration," Williams said.
While the parties are what people often hear about, it's what those parties benefit that's the real prize and passion for Jeff Williams and Kelli Jones of the Indianapolis nonprofit, Be Nimble. The program helps Black and Latinx Hoosiers launch their careers or business in the tech industry. Events like Pardi Gras and Garden Pardi help pay for initiatives like their Accelerator programs, which this year awarded $32,000 to several local tech startups. It's similar to the concept of Shark Tank for minority business owners.
"Shark Tank but like, on steroids," Jones said. "Right, imagine Shark Tank that actually comes with a program that actually helps you prepare to be on Shark Tank and then after Shark Tank whether or not you win money, you still have long term support," Williams added.
Whether it's the parties or the purpose behind them, Jones said the success of what they do is thanks to people in Indianapolis who want to see others in their city do well.
"I think that's something that we've always come to the table with. We believe we deserve more. We think Black people deserve more. We think people in Indianapolis deserve more," Williams said.
Jones and Williams said there is a chance more tickets could be sold for Garden Pardi this summer, but that all depends on what happens with the COVID-19 pandemic.