Join the Golden Boy at the annual Marche du Nain Rouge

All Hail the Golden Boy!, photo by Andrew McFarlane

I’ve featured the annual Marche du Nain Rouge for years on Michigan in Pictures, but last year was the first time I ever attended. Even on a cold & rainy day, thousands of people turned out for what is unquestionably one of the coolest parades I’ve ever been a part of. My favorite parade group was certainly these folks, who would loudly intone “All hail the Golden Boy” as the walked.

The Marche du Nain Rouge takes place in two weeks – Sunday, March 25, 2018 along the Cass Corridor in Detroit. You can get all the details about the Marche du Nain Rouge on Facebook and read more about this incredible event & the chilling tales of the Red Dwarf of Detroit on Absolute Michigan.

I was more wandering with the parade than photographing, but you can see a lot more including videos in my 2017 Marche du Nain Rouge set on Flickr!

History of the Nain Rouge (courtesy the Marche du Nain Rouge)

In 1701, legendary founder of Detroit Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac met a fortune-teller, who warned him to beware of the Nain Rouge, the “Red Dwarf” who appeared to Cadillac in a dream. She warned Cadillac that the the little red imp is the embodiment of his ambition, anger, pride, envy — everything that held him back. The Nain Rouge, she told him, is the harbinger of doom. However, when Cadillac first saw the fiend in person, the Nain taunted him mercilessly and Cadillac chased the Nain away with a stick.

Unfortunately, the fortune turned out to be true and Cadillac died penniless after he left Detroit for France. The city he founded, however, fared better, endured and prospered (mostly), against the fiendish efforts of the Nain Rouge.

For 300 years, Detroiters memorialized Cadillac’s actions and willingness to persevere and hope for better things, combined with the determination to rise from the ashes. At Detroit’s worst moments, the Nain has been there, cackling or taunting the city’s residents. And so every year, Detroiters celebrate liberation from the Nain, a new beginning, and whatever is good and working in the city in a spring festival for the good and betterment of the city of Detroit.

2017 Marche du Nain Rouge is this Sunday!

Marche du Nain Rouge, photo by Joel Williams

My favorite event of the year appears to have snuck up on me! The 2017 Marche du Nain Rouge takes place in Detroit this Sunday (March 26th) at noon at the corner of Cass and Canfield (parade departs at 1 PM). The organizers have some hints about what’s in store for one of Michigan’s quirkiest parades:

The start of the 8th annual Marche du Nain Rouge on Sunday, March 26, 2017, promises to be the most epic parade launch yet. Will the Nain Rouge’s dastardly plan for squelching city pride involve an overly complicated scheme with oversized props and ridiculous costumes? Come find out!

The annual parade through Midtown shows of Detroit pride in the face of the city’s oldest nemesis, the scheming doomsayer, the Nain Rouge. More than 6,000 people are expected to attend this year’s parade, featuring costumes, marching bands, dancers, tricked out cars, and more.

Caribbean Mardi Gras Productions will return with all of its feathers, sparkles and dancers, ready to accompany their Pans of Joy steel drum band. And our friends at Gabriel Brass Band will return to lead the Marche with their authentic New Orleans second-line sound.

In addition to whatever madness the Nain has concocted, the cockroach car from the past couple years will return, bringing with it several other Art Cars, including a new “Bubblemobile” out of Southwest Detroit, and Scrubby Bubble, which has represented Detroit at the Annual Burning Man Festival in Nevada. Also, we’re asking cosplayers to come out for the parade and a costume contest at the afterparty. (at the Detroit Masonic Temple)

If that sounds like fun, get more info about the Marche at marchedunainrouge.com and be sure to follow them on Facebook.  You can read all about the legend of the Red Dwarf of Detroit at Absolute Michigan.

View Joel’s photo from the 2015 March bigger and see more in his Marche du Nain Rouge 2015 slideshow.

Remembering Labor on Labor Day

Parade, Copper Miners' Strike, Calumet, Michigan, 1913

Parade, Copper Miners’ Strike, Calumet, Michigan, 1913, photo by Wystan

Labor Day has become little more than a three day weekend, and labor and labor unions are often frowned upon. Before you go out and enjoy that extra day off, you might take a moment to reflect that the 5-day week of 8-hour days that we take for granted was won with the sweat and tears and blood of dedicated men and women who put it all on the line. Many of these were from Michigan, like these Keweenaw copper miners who risked everything from the loss of their livelihood to outright murder.

As a friend said, as we honor the sacrifice of soldiers on Memorial Day, let us also honor all the hard-working people of today and days gone by who have fought for a better life.

View Wystan’s photo background big and dive into his slideshow for many more great old photos from Michigan!

More Labor Day on Michigan in Pictures.

1939 Detroit Memorial Day Parade

1939 Detroit Memorial Day Parade down Woodward

1939 Detroit Memorial Day Parade, photo by Buildings of Detroit

Buildings of Detroit shared this photo back in 2013 saying:

Tonight the Wayback Machine continues to show us views of Detroit’s Memorial Day Parade down Woodward, this time in 1939. Most of the structures remain as they were in the previous 1920 image (click to see it!). We can clearly see Kern’s and an expanded Hudson’s, as well as Eaton Tower, Bond Clothing, and the Majestic Building along with the Detroit Opera House, now transformed into Sam’s Cut Rate clothing store.

View the photo bigger and definitely follow Buildings of Detroit on Facebook for lots more about Detroit’s unique architectural heritage.

Lots more Detroit on Michigan in Pictures!

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.