08/25/2011 01:33 pm ET | Updated Oct 25, 2011

Giddy Up and Get Away


I've been told to pack my bags before but never quite like this. The Denver Suitcase Party is loaded with jet fuel; enough to sweep you away to a luxurious Napa Valley weekend. Saddle-Up Foundation's annual fundraiser takes place Friday night in a private hangar within the Centennial Airport; guests are encouraged to bring a packed suitcase. Personally I'm a bit more discreet, slipping nothing more than a toothbrush into the clutch, but I love the spontaneous jet-set excitement of it all. The event sponsor, the Alpine Planning Group, rolls out the red carpet for an evening of dining, dancing, live music and cocktails but this night will be different from all others... at least for one lucky couple.

A private jet will fire up its engines as local celebrities Denise Plante of Colorado & Company and 9News entertainment reporter Kirk Montgomery draw the Grand Prize raffle ticket. Winners will grab their bags and board the Westwind II (courtesy of Chuck Latham of Chuck Latham Associates) for immediate departure to California and their very exclusive accommodations at the Trinchero Family Estates. The Napa festivities include a stay at the Sutter Home Bed & Breakfast and a full day of VIP winery tours before returning via private jet late Sunday afternoon.

No need to drown your sorrows if you don't win the raffle (included with admission). Opportunity awaits you at the live auction, where, if the price is right, you jump on the Westwind II as well. Your destination? Private digs at Silver Oak Cellars, accommodations in the vineyard and transport to and from. Guess I should forego the clutch on Friday for the overnight bag.

So how did all this come to be? In the fall of 2008 Alpine Planning Group sought out a local non-profit as its Charity of Choice; the SaddleUp! Foundation won the coveted title.

The goal of the firm is "to pay it forward" and give back to the community in which we serve and live. With the support of SaddleUp! Foundation's Board of Directors, Denver jetCenter, local businesses and corporate sponsors, Alpine Planning Group launches their inaugural event.
SaddleUp! is dedicated to empowering individuals challenged with special needs through equine assisted activities and hippotherapy at their stunning family-friendly ranch. The Parker ranch stands apart from others by providing a safe and secure facility that offers a single location for therapists, including but not limited to: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and NARTHA certified therapeutic riding and activities. The Foundation serves patients referred from or in conjunction Craig Hospital, Children's Hospital, Oasis Network, Mental Health Association of Denver Options, Developmental Pathways NARHA.

The Denver Suitcase Party takes place Friday, August 26th, 2011, 6-11p.m. Click here to purchase tickets or for more information.