Jacqueline Gafrarar on creating family-oriented events in Charlotte
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
Are you native to North Carolina?
I am from Concord, NC. I know that’s unusual, most people are from out of state, so I’m kind of an anomaly! I currently live in Midland, NC.
What unexpected event occurred while planning your wedding?
When I was 28, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was getting married in six months and it was definitely life changing. With a group support system including my awesome fiancé (now husband) and a positive attitude, I can now say I’m a 15 year survivor! I served as the survivor committee chair from 2008-2009 for Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Describe your family:
I have been married to my awesome husband, Chuck, for 15 years now. We have a son, Caleb, who is eight and our beloved rescue lab/red tick hound mix, Harvie.
How has your career evolved?
I am the Managing Director of the 600 Festival Association: a nonprofit organization that commemorates the May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway with family-oriented activities. I started at JHE, a production company now called CSM Production, in 1997 helping with a multitude of tasks including accounting, database entry, parade entries/recruitment, food vendor management, and office management. Throughout the past 20 years, I have enjoyed various roles and transitions and now solely focus on the 600 Festival Association and producing the five events that the association has to offer during the month of May.
What do you love about your job?
I am passionate about creating fun event experiences that our guests will remember for a lifetime. It’s very rewarding to see guests smiling and enjoying the events that I have had a part in creating.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have an eight year old son who races go karts competitively. We travel across the US competing - California, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Indiana, etc.
His go kart reaches speeds up to 65 mph. It’s something we do as a family and I am able to spend weekends together with my husband and son! It’s great to be able to have quality family time together doing something we all enjoy; we all have “jobs” at the track to make it all work!
Alma mater and certifications?
After changing my major three times at UNCC, I decided on business with a major in marketing. I am also certified by the International Live Events Association as a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP).
Favorite vacation spot?
I LOVE the Caribbean! We sail the British Virgin Islands and enjoy visiting these islands in addition to the Turks & Caicos islands. We also enjoy our extended family beach trips to Ocean Isle Beach each summer.
Where do you see yourself retiring?
Favorite TV series?
Suits on USA! It’s a must watch…and where we got the name for our dog! I also enjoy This is Us.
Anything by Nicholas Sparks and also The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.