What You Need to Know About This Year’s Marche du Nain Rouge

This annual parade runs the curse of Nain Rouge out of the city.
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Photograph courtesy of Marche du Main Rouge

Each year around the Spring Equinox, Detroiters come together in Midtown’s Cass Corridor for a parade to chase the Nain Rouge — a harbinger of doom — out of the city with their krewes (a group that joins together to throw a ball or parade), wacky costumes, intricate floats, and bad French, according to the event’s website.

The parade celebrates the pride and spirit of Detroit. 

The Marche du Nain Rouge begins at noon on March 24 at the intersection of Canfield St. and Second Ave. with live entertainment. At 1 p.m., the parade will start moving down Second Ave., making its way toward Masonic Temple. 

“Should the Nain Rouge, Detroit’s legendary harbinger of doom, try something dastardly, we will show the Nain that hope prevails in the city that rises from the ashes. Bring your sense of Detroit pride and sense of humor,” Marche du Nain Rouge said in a Facebook post

The parade has become a Mardi Gras-like event, with krewes typically dressing in black and red disguises, capes, demonic masks, and more. Some go as far as dressing up like the Teletubbies or the late Queen Elizabeth. 

According to legend, the Nain Rouge (“red dwarf” in French) has been around since Detroit’s founding. The Nain is said to appear before disaster strikes the city. It was first seen by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the founder of Detroit, who was cursed upon the sighting. The Nain allegedly appeared before the Battle of Bloody Run in 1763, the 1805 fire that nearly burned the entire city, the 1967 rebellion, and a massive ice storm in 1976, according to Mysterious Michigan

March du Nain Rouge is “pretty much, for the most part” kid-friendly, according to a Facebook post. Open-carry of alcohol is not permitted during the parade, though after-parties may have different rules. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome, too. 

For more information, visit marchedunainrouge.com, and for more community events, visit hourdetroit.com