Over the past 25 years, Humboldt citizens of different ages and backgrounds dance and drum together in celebration of their north coast community.
The parade has a long history filled with many talented contributors. In 1986, percussionist Sam Camp made arrangements with the North Coast Environmental Center for a group of musicians to play samba for the existing Sunday All-Species Parade. The group consisted of David Peñalosa's percussion students from Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties. The music was so well received that the group was invited to play again the next year. David, who introduced samba percussion to Humboldt County, directed the parade in 1986 and 1987.
In 1988, the Samba parade achieved several milestones. The North Country Fair gave the parade its own time slot on Saturday afternoon, and the group chose a name, Samba do Norte. That year, Jon Lewis began his music directorship of Samba do Norte, which continued for a decade. 1988 was the first year dancers were in the parade. Ann Youmans choreographed and directed the dance. She continued choreographing for each parade until 1992. Parade participants in 1988 also had matching costumes for the first time. The parade has been known for its costumes ever since.
1998 was a transition year for the parade, which was led by musicians Adrienne Wright and Brad Hoessle. Samba da Alegria, the group currently most associated with the parade, began in 1999 under the direction of percussionist and music teacher, Howie Kaufman. The name which translates to "joy of samba" was the idea of Brazilian Marie Cairns who was a member of the group. Beginning in the late 90's up to 2006, Kathryn Hopkins was the main dance director. Group members Desiree Meinardi, Christa Sinadinos and Maria Vanderhorst also contributed choreography during that time. Samba da Alegria built on the foundation that Samba do Norte created and has grown the Samba parade into the event it is today. In 2007, Howie Kaufman resigned and Jesse Jonathan began his role as musical director. That same year, Kathryn Hopkins passed her dance director position on to her daughter, Andelain Evans. Maria Vanderhorst became co-director of the dance section in 2009. The new millennium has brought more inspiration from Brazil to the parade along with an ever growing participation list.