Published October 21, 2014
Volume 22, Number 10

Crab Fest Brings Awareness to Drug & Alcohol Abuse
Biletnikoff Foundation Crab Fest

By Zoe Francis

Fred and Angela Biletnikoff throw one heck of a party every year to bring attention to a weighty subject – drug and alcohol abuse.
The former Oakland Raiders player, assistant coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer and his wife host an annual crab feed in honor of their daughter, Tracey, who was brutally murdered after struggling years to overcome drug and alcohol dependency.
“We try to keep it light and fun to raise funds for something that is very dark,” Angela Biletnikoff, Tracey’s stepmother, said. “We try to bring attention to a very important topic. Nobody wants to talk about drug and alcohol abuse, but Tracey was very outspoken about it and cared about it.”
This year’s 13th annual Biletnikoff Foundation Crab Fest will be Nov. 7 at the Marriott in San Ramon. The gala event, emceed by former Raider offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy, draws hundreds of people for all-you-can-eat crab, top-notch entertainment and spectacular auction items.
“I call it my happy event,” Biletnikoff said. “People have been coming to this event since day one. It’s like a reunion for most people. The Raiders have a passion for this event. The Raiders front office and head coach come.”
The event also draws several Biletnikoff Award recipients and many of the former coach’s Hall of Fame buddies.
“You’ll have so much fun because everybody is so friendly,” she said. “I can guarantee to the person that’s buying a ticket for the first time that Fred Biletnikoff will take the time to go to every single table, shake everyone’s hand and thank them for coming.”
Funds raised at the seafood celebration support Tracey’s Place of Hope, a group home for teens struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. The home was located in Burlingame for a decade before relocating to Loomis a year ago to merge with the Koinonia Home for Teens. The home is undergoing a $500,000 renovation.
Funds are also used to support $2,500 college scholarships for graduating high school seniors.
Tracey had overcome her demons and was getting her life on track at the tender young age of 20. She had spent time at the Women’s Recovery Association in San Mateo, which made her realize the crucial need for a recovery home targeted specifically at teens.
The promising young lady’s life was cut short when she was murdered by a fellow recovering addict. The February 1999 tragedy left the distraught Biletnikoff’s determined to carry on Tracey’s legacy to help troubled teens.
“We saw her enthusiasm toward this teen residential program,” Biletnikoff said. “It was everything that Tracey was and wanted to help.”
The Biletnikoff Foundation, founded in 1999, has hosted a variety of fundraising events, but the crab feed that started in 2000 (with a one-year hiatus) has turned out to be one of the group’s most popular fundraisers. The gala has grown bigger and better with each successive year.
“It’s more of a festival,” Biletnikoff said enthusiastically. “We have wine tasting and a silent auction. This year, we’re going to have a 16-piece orchestra and the Rat Pack is coming.”
The San Francisco-based Rat Pack Tribute Show will entertain guests with their impressive impersonations of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.
“The entertainment value is second to none,” she said. “We’ll have Dungeness crab flown in fresh from Washington. It’s a very elegant dining experience that just happens to be all-you-can-eat crab.”
The 13th annual Biletnikoff Foundation Crab Fest is Nov. 7 at the Marriott in San Ramon. Individual tickets are $125 with table sponsorships available. The deadline to buy tickets is Nov. 1. Visit biletnikoff.org for details about the event and information about the foundation.

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