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Detroit Celebrates City's Renewal at Marche du Nain Rouge

Posted on Tuesday, March 17 2015 in Events

NainRouge2 Kate Sassak

For more than 300 years, Detroiters have been fighting the fabled harbinger of doom: the Nain Rouge (Red Dwarf). According to legend, this devilish creature attacked Detroit’s first settler, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, in 1701. Although Cadillac fought him off, the French explorer soon lost his fortune and fled the city. The Nain Rouge is held responsible for whatever problems have plagued the city since. However, Cadillac’s courage and endurance against the Nain represent the courage and endurance of the city he founded.

And if there’s one thing Detroiters have, it’s strength in hard times. The annual Marche du Nain Rouge is proof.

Nain Kate Sassak
  The annual Marche du Nain Rouge has been
  proof of Detroiters' strength in hard times.

This symbolic parade celebrates the city’s catharsis and the strength of its citizens. Taking place each March, Marche du Nain Rouge is a growing Midtown tradition upholding liberation from the malicious embodiment of everything that holds us back. Revelers gather in costume to disguise themselves from the Nain and parade through town, ending at the Masonic Temple for the devil’s doomful speech. What comes next is an unforgettable celebration of freedom from his antagonism.

Organizer Francis Grunow considers the unique event a “Mardi Gras meets Burning Man” experience, which is evident through the party’s extravagance and creativity. The streets of Cass Corridor are filled with manmade floats, 5K runners, pets, music, merch and more. Throughout the week, local bars, eateries and retailers will offer special Nain Rouge-themed specialty items and discounts.

The 2016 Marche du Nain Rouge will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 20 on West Canfield and Second in the Traffic Jam and Snug parking lot in Midtown. So grab your craziest costume and join in the “Best New ‘Old Detroit Tradition’.” Never fear the Nain!


By: Nikki DuJardin

Photo Credit: Kate Sassak