Detroit’s annual Marche du Nain Rouge

Nain Regards the Parade

The Red Dwarf regards the Parade, photo by Kate Sassak

Kate Sassak took today’s photo back in 2014 as the official photographer of the event. In a photo-packed article on her website she writes:

One of the coolest events in the City of Detroit is the Marche Du Nain Rouge. Every year, on the Sunday after the Vernal Equinox, Detroiters gather in Cass Park to say “Eff you!” to the Red Devil. The Marche is a huge Mardi Gras style party and parade with a fire breathing dragon, music and outlandish costumes. People from all over the city come together to “banish” the Nain and celebrate all the good things happening in the City of Detroit.

The Marche du Nain Rouge is an annual, symbolic celebration of the liberation of Detroit from the Nain Rouge (Red Dwarf), a supernatural imp who has purportedly plagued the city since at least its founding. The celebration takes place this Sunday (March 20, 1-3 PM) and you can get all the details and lots of great photos at from the Marche du Nain Rouge website. Also be sure to check out the story of the Nain Rouge on Absolute Michigan.

See more more in Kate’s Marche du Nain Rouge photo gallery and stay tuned as she is once again photographing in 2016! Definitely follow both Kate Sassak Photography and the Marche du Nain Rouge on Facebook for the latest.

Festifools #1 calling Festifools #9

Festifools Ann Arbor

FestiFools: puppet painting, photo by Myra Klarman

The annual Festifools returns to Ann Arbor next Sunday, April 12 at 4 PM. The event is in its 9th year, and they explain:

A new local tradition, kicking off Ann Arbor’s outdoor festival season, FestiFools is a gigantic public art spectacular, created by members of the community and U of M students. Magnificent, huge, bizarre, politically incorrect, human-powered papier-mâché puppets join thousands of Foolish friends frolicking about downtown for one fun-filled hour. Don’t miss out on this eight annual celebration of foolishness!

Myra took this photo back in 2007 as she documented the very first year of what has become an Ann Arbor tradition. View her photo on Flickr and definitely check out her 2007 FestiFools April 1st Parade slideshow.

La Marche du Nain Rouge

Ms Nain Rouge

Detroit MI, photo by billyvoo

Over 300 years ago, around the same time the city of Detroit was founded, an evil was discovered in and around the city. An evil that has plagued the people and the city, and even wrecked havoc upon the founder of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. This ‘evil’ was said to have been a Nain Rouge, other wise known as the “red dwarf of Detroit.”
~La Marche du Nain Rouge

La Marche du Nain Rouge is held every year on the Sunday following the spring equinox. That’s Sunday March 24, 2013, and they explain:

La Marche du Nain Rouge is an annual Detroit tradition that purportedly dates back to shortly after the city’s founding by the French in 1701. Annually held on the Sunday closest to the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, it is parade and street theater similar in sensibility to Mardi Gras and other Carnival celebrations. However the impetus for La Marche is different.

La Marche drives Le Nain Rouge (The Red Dwarf) out of Detroit, preventing its evil spirit from plaguing the people of the city for the rest of the year. By forcing Le Nain Rouge from the city (and into the spirit plane), Le Nain is banished, transforming Detroiters’ fears and doubts into the hopes of new life and the coming Spring season.

Tradition holds that a citizen of Detroit dresses up as Le Nain Rouge, temporarily embodying its spirit, wearing a mask to conceal identity. As Le Nain Rouge, this person accepts responsibility for leading people through the streets of Detroit to La Marche’s final destination.

Read on for more including pictures and definitely head over to Absolute Michigan to learn much more about one of Michigan’s spookiest stories, Nain Rouge: The Red Dwarf of Detroit.

Billy took this in March of 2011 at the 300th anniversary of La Marche. See it bigger and see more in his La Marche du Nain Rouge slideshow and also check out billyvoo.com.

More portraits on Michigan in Pictures.