1710 : First Marche du Nain Rouge Held in Detroit

March 23, 2018 all-day

Hit the road, Nain, and don’t you come back no more! Loyal Detroiters will unite Sunday to do their civic duty by driving the nasty Nain Rouge from the city for another year. The mythical red dwarf has been associated for centuries with doom and gloom in the D, and he’s both celebrated and scorned at the annual MARCHE DU NAIN ROUGE in Midtown.

The annual Marche du Nain Rouge attracts crowds dressed in garish Halloween wear, from a zebra costume to a box of candy, as well as fire twirlers, and jugglers.

The first recorded Marche Du Nain Rouge was held on Sunday, March 23, 1710 and proceeded from Ste. Anne’s Catholic Church to the river in an effort at ridding the city of Le Nain Rouge — a short, red-eyed, mysterious, and malevolent figure — and his curse.  According to legend, the dwarf or Le Nain Rouge crossed paths with Detroit founder Antoine Laumet de La Mothe Cadillac. In a confrontation, Cadillac took a swipe at the shrieking, matted creature with his cane. Shortly afterward, Cadillac’s fortunes turned.

Whether the Nain Rouge is friendly or fiendish, he's definitely red and demonic.

Whether the Nain Rouge is friendly or fiendish, he’s definitely red and demonic. CARMEN DEÑÓ

This year’s Marche Du Nain Roughe will be held on March 23 (2023).  The festivities will start at noon at the corner of Cass and Canfield. The parade down Cass kicks off at 1 p.m. and ends at the Masonic Temple, where the Nain will tease and taunt the pro-Detroit crowd before he’s banished.  Many businesses along the route will be offering specials for parade attendees.

The parade was an idea started by Francis Grunow and Joe Uhl, while they were law school students at Wayne State. Grunow said they city has many great parades, but rarely do Detroiters get to be in the parade.


Also see March 23, 1710 : First Recorded Parade Held in Detroit to Oust Le Nain Rouge and the Evil He Exudes

Daniel Bethencourt, “Marche du Nain Rouge returns to Midtown, as demon flees“, Detroit Free Press, March 20, 2016.

Tanya Moutzalias, “21 captivating costumes from Detroit’s Marche du Nain Rouge“, MLive, March 21, 2016.

2017 Marche du Nain Rouge Photos, Detroit News, March 26, 2017.

Greg Crawford and Ashley Zlatopolsky, Detroit Free Press , “The weekend’s best: Detroit arts & entertainment“, Detroit Free Press, March 23, 2017.

Alvsa Zavala-Offman, “Nain Rouge will make his yearly Detroit appearance on March 25“, Detroit Metro Press, March 9, 2018

Sarah Rahal, “Detroiters banish Nain Rouge for another blissful year“, Detroit News, March 25, 2018.

Jessica Leigh Hester, “The Spirited Afterlife of Detroit’s Little Red Demon“,  Atlas Obscura, October 28, 2019.

Marina Johnson, “Nain Rouge parade returns to Midtown”, Detroit Free Press, March 26, 2023.

Note : Date varies.

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