Maryssa Danilko was having dinner with a friend in Bracebridge awhile back as the eatery was having a salsa night.

It consisted of a DJ and one dancer.

Danilko, of Dance Happens Here Haliburton (DH3), said it was fine but inspired her to want to do something bigger and better in Haliburton. She pitched the idea to the DH3 committee and they were all in.

Fast forward and DH3, in conjunction with Poquito Loco at Castle Antiques, as well as the Haliburton Highlands Community Cooperative, is going to spice things up with a salsa night Feb. 24.

“I thought, let’s go big, right?” Danilko said of the Saturday night offering.

She contacted Lulu Lounge in Toronto in search of dancers and their house band. She began making more calls “and they were immediately interested. They’d never been to Haliburton County.”

Marta Elena Perez and her six-piece Cuban orchestra will be heading north for the event. So will dancers Dailyn Martinez and Enrico Casertano.

“There’s nothing like a live band,” Danilko adds, standing in the music room of Castle Antiques.

Danilko said it was fairly easy to put together as the band and dancers are professionals. “These are people who play music and dance for a living.”

She said it ties in nicely with their mandate of putting on community events, in the winter. They always try to incorporate dance and culture.

The cooperative’s Jim Blake added, “we love holding these events in mid-winter – presenting great dance performances with a live band and then getting people up and dancing. It is for the whole family. Kids and youth up to 18 are free. Last year, it was Kolemeijka for Ukraine, this year salsa.”

Danilko said they did have the option of hosting the event at the Legion. And although they “love” that venue, they thought the more intimate setting of the music room would work best for this particular event.

“It’s going to be great, and very fun.”

Tickets are $20 adult, $15 students, and under 18 free. They are available at Castle Antiques, Russell Red Records and UpRiver Trading Minden or online at Doors open at 6 p.m. There’ll be salsa tips at 6:45 p.m. and dancing will begin at 7:30 p.m.