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.