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Ron Anello, the athletic director at Ramapo High School and president of the Essex County Chapter of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, is urging all area sports fans to come out for a festive evening that is also for a worthy cause at the Scholarship Benefit Fundraiser Beefsteak Dinner set for 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Russian Hall, 4 Woodhull Ave. in Little Falls. Tickets, which are $50 apiece, can be reserved by emailing Peter Horn at or Chapter president Anello at

Football at all the levels - high school, college and NFL - will certainly be part of the conversation during the upcoming Beefsteak Dinner at the Russian Hall in Little Falls.

Essex Chapter’s Beefsteak Dinner
Great Opportunity For Sports Fans

By Steve Tober

Each cold January always means the warmth of an always-intriguing and entertaining evening at ‘Sports Nut Night’ followed in early March by one of the staples of New Jersey sports dinners, the 55th annual M. Donald Horn Essex County Scholar-Leader Athlete Awards Dinner where many of the finest senior football players in the county have been feted for more than half a century.

A third in the appetizing and worthy benefit dinners put together by the Essex County Chapter of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is the upcoming Scholarship Benefit Fundraiser Beefsteak Dinner set for 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Russian Hall in Little Falls.

“The Beefsteak Dinner will be a golden opportunity to break bread with sports and business leaders from throughout North Jersey,” said Tom Pengitore, the retired West Essex athletic director and Essex Chapter vice-president in charge of dinners.

"Most importantly, it is also for a great cause as a chief fund-raiser to benefit our present and future student-athletes of Essex County.”

Sports Nut Night, the Essex Scholar-Leader Athlete Awards Dinner, which are held each winter at Mayfair Farms in West Orange, and the Beefsteak Dinner at the Russian Hall, all attract familiar faces of the scholastic, collegiate and even professional sports world.  

“We invite all sports fans to come to the Beefsteak Dinner, just like we have for Sports Nut Night which has become an annual gathering we have all looked forward to for so many years,” said Ron Anello, the Essex chapter president and a native of Montclair who is now overseer of one of the top high school athletic programs in the state at Ramapo in Franklin Lakes. “From the Berras and Tripuckas through so many other great Jersey sports families, we’ve enjoyed having them join us each year for Sports Nut Night, and then in March we’re able to celebrate the accomplishments of some of the best senior scholar-athletes from the previous football season, and we hope that all of those who want to be part of another great sports evening come and break bread with a number of area coaches and business leaders who will come out on Sept. 14 at the Russian Hall which is a great venue for what should be another terrific evening of sports talk and fellowship while also supporting a great cause.”

Along with Anello who is the dedicated president, other Essex Chapter officers include vice-president in charge of public relations, Ben Spinelli and National Board Representative Ken Trimmer, the retired former James Caldwell High School coach.

The upcoming Beefsteak Dinner is also a terrific lead-in to the busy fall sports season following a summer away from the school athletic scene.

“Those of us who love following high school sports are always excited about the new school year ahead, including another football season, and the Beefsteak Dinner is a fun evening with sports topics definitely in the friendly conversation around the room which we all enjoy while also helping raise funds for our Chapter,” said Pengitore. “We certainly look forward to seeing everyone at the Russian Hall on the 14th for a terrific night together!”  

Tickets for the Sept. 14 Beefsteak Dinner are $50 apiece and are available in advance or right at the door. You can make checks out to: Essex County Chapter-NFF.  For further information and for reservations, contact Peter Horn at or email NFF&CHF President Anello at  

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister

Retired James Caldwell High School head coach Ken Trimmer is the National Board Representative for the Essex County Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame which has three dinners during the year.

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