Audrey Kondelis has turned her passion for parties into a new business, Pole Barn Chic Events. Kondelis said she threw a birthday party for herself last year that inspired her to start professionally planning events for others.

“Last year, I had a great big Mardi Gras party at my house. I brought up a Grammy-nominated zydeco band from New Orleans and hired a local chef to make gumbo, beignets and muffulettas,” she said, noting that she had previously helped friends plan weddings and other events.

Now, she’s offering her services and supplies for everything from birthday parties to bachelorette parties. “What I’m doing for now is taking it into your home,” Kondelis said, noting that COVID-19 restrictions have limited the current options for events.  “I decorate your space however you want, in whatever theme, and you can still have a badass party.”

She also serves as a one-stop shop, providing everything from the decorations to bartenders, catering, floral services and a photographer and DJ.

Kondelis is counting on large events coming back, as she plans to break ground this spring on an 11,000- square-foot venue that will seat up to 400 people indoors, plus have room for an outdoor concert area. She has purchased eight acres of land on South Sixth Street, between Cracker Barrel and Baymont Inn off Toronto Road, and is working with Tim Smith of Evan Lloyd Architects.

“I should be able to hold the first event by the end of this year,” she said, noting that the space will also have smaller party rooms to accommodate groups of 25-75 people, in addition to the larger reception hall.

Kondelis described event planning as “tedious work that has to be perfect,” but said, “This is second nature to me; this is what I love to do. My favorite thing in the world is to laugh and make people happy.”