Nain Rouge Parade Sunday Afternoon Will Reflect New Outreach into Neighborhoods

The Nain Rouge rite of spring isn't just for Midtown anymore.

Residents from other parts of Detroit will roll down Second Avenue on Sunday afternoon aboard floats built with help from event organizers.

A scene from last April's post-parade rally outside Masonic Temple. (Photos by Kate Cho)

"The Marche du Nain Rouge is calling for all Detroiters to get involved," its website proclaims. "This year, the Marche is expanding its neighborhood outreach and competition to encourage more participation from across Detroit."

Hosts invite people-powered floats, marching bands and individual performers ("belly dancing, miming, etc.") to join the frolicsome two-hour procession, which starts at 1 p.m. at Canfield Street and goes to Cass Park, opposite Masonic Temple. (M1 Rail work knocks the route off Cass Avenue, its usual setting.)  

The free event commemorates the Nain Rouge, a devilish red dwarf that supposedly has tormented Detroit since Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac settled here in 1701.

Marchers are encouraged to wear masks and costumes -- preferably red. Other tips for first-timers are here.

In partnership with the city's Department of Neighborhood, float-building grants of $1,000 each were offered to neighborhood associations, churches, schools and clubs -- one in each of the seven city council districts. An organization called Caribbean Mardi Gras gave costume and float construction training. "Cash prizes and bragging rights could be yours," coordinators say on the event's Facebook page.

At Crain's Detroit Business, Sherri Welch describes how an impromptu event is gaining support:

Marche du Nain Rouge, which attracted 5,000 people in 2015 and is set to take place March 20 this year, is operating on a $50,000 budget, with Midtown Detroit, its biggest fiscal supporter to date, as its fiduciary. 

The 2015 procession on Cass Avenue.

Francis Grunow, co-founder and event coordinator, tells Welch the wider outreach is intended "to grow Detroit's music, parade, arts and culture scene, which is an important part of creative place-making."

Sunday's parade and rally will be followed by a free party inside Masonic's Fountain Ballroom, with DJs, dancing and sales of food, beverages and Nain Rouge keepsakes. DJ Holographic and Rex Bravo in the Fountain Ballroom.

Nearby bars also offer entertainment:

  • The Old Miami: The Ladies of Nothing Elegant ($5 cover)
  • Temple Bar: Haute to Death ($3)
  • TV Lounge: Techno all afternoon and night ($5)

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