According to legend, le Nain Rouge, a feisty local demon, cursed Père Cadillac over 300 years ago as he tried to found the city of Detroit. This “red dwarf” has continued to plot Detroit’s demise ever since… until Detroit took action.
Every year, on the first Sunday after the Spring Equinox, the Nain Rouge re-appears in Midtown to heap scorn and sow discord in the the Motor City. And every year since 2010, Detroit has united to march the troublemaker out of town in grand style.
Called the “Mardi Gras of the Midwest,” the annual Marche du Nain Rouge is a glorious expression of community pride. Equal parts Carnivale-type floats, home-town parade, semi-pagan rite of spring and old-fashioned Motown party, the Marche has steadily grown in attendance.
Participants are encouraged to wear costumes so that the vindictive Nain Rouge doesn’t seek retribution. Creative folks live in southeast Michigan, as these photos attest.
The predominant color is red, fitting both to the Nain Rouge and to local hockey team, the Red Wings.
The Nain Rouge perched atop a mechanical cockroach that spewed smoke and dour music…
But the revelers included the Detroit Party Marching band who countered his gloom with butt-shaking jams.
This year, attendees paraded the mean-spirited Dwarf down Second Street, starting by Traffic Jams and ending at the Masonic Theatre, where he was successfully banished for another year.
A dance party ensued in the sumptuous Fountain Ballroom in the basement of Masonic. If tradition holds, that cantankerous dwarf will return next Spring so why not plan to join the resistance and take your place in the next Marche du Nain Rouge in downtown Detroit, Michigan?