On March 20 at 1 p.m. the battle for Detroit’s spirit will commence at Second and Canfield. When the Marche du Nain Rouge starts it will mark the 7th year Detroiters will dress garishly to drive out the city’s ancient enemy … the Nain Rouge.
The Nain Rouge, a tale that dates back to before the city itself, is a devious imp said to bring misfortune to the city.
What’s the best way to prevent such problems from plaguing Motown?
Apparently, the answer is for as many lovers of Detroit as possible to dress garishly and march in a parade down Second to the Masonic Temple in a visual declaration of city pride.
When asked about expectations for the 7th annual display of Motor City love, Francis Grunow, co-founder of the Marche du Nain Rouge says, “With every Marche, we have seen more Detroiters participate in bolder, more creative ways. Our grants and workshops have helped plant the seeds to make this the best display of Detroit love, yet.”
Not one of Detroit’s seven districts will be forgotten in the gaiety, thanks to a $1,000 grant from the parade’s organizers. More specifically it was provided by the event’s crowdfunding campaign and matched by Midtown Detroit Inc., a sponsor of the Marche du Nain Rouge.
Anyone with pride in Detroit is welcome to take part in the celebration of garish costumes and motorized floats and compete for trophies, cash prizes to use for community improvements of your choosing, and plenty of bragging rights. All city neighborhoods and groups are encouraged to enter the competition. Certainly it’s worth taking note of which community best displays its civic pride.
“I love to help people take their most creative visions and make them into reality,” says Ralph Taylor, president of Caribbean Mardi Gras Productions. “You don’t need much more than a good idea and some simple materials to make stunning visual displays.”
The party goes on all this week. Here’s a list of great specials, parties and events all over to celebrate 2016 Fete du Nain Week:
- Cass Cafe – 4620 Cass Ave.: A special Tito’s Bloody Nain along with rotating Nain-friendly food specials.
- City Bird and Nest – 460 W. Canfield St.: Throughout the Fete du Nain Week, City Bird features its exclusive, limited-run Nain Rouge-themed merchandise, including a new t-shirt in honor of the 2016 Marche du Nain Rouge, designed by Detroit artist, Don Kilpatrick. From 11am to 2pm on Marche day, both stores will host their 7th annual Fête du Nain Rouge. There will be complimentary Nain-themed refreshments and free Nain Rouge beads with every purchase. In addition, City Bird will feature vintage-style paper masks and costume accessories with free mask-making table for any finishing touches to your costume.
- Goodwells Natural Foods Market– 418 Willis St.: Check out the “Hibiscus Ginger Tea,” made from an ancient herbal blend that has been proven to ward off the Nain. Tell them that you are joining the fight and get 50% off the Hibiscus Ginger Tea all week.
- Honest Johns – 488 Selden St.: Fete du Nain Week specials run all week – The Dirt Devi l… a red take on its ‘Hoover’ shot & beer is $5.00. Other features include Blood Red Velvet Pancakes and fiendishly hot ‘Imp Fingers’.
- Hopcat – Detroit – 4265 Woodward Ave.: Nain Wings and Nain drinks are featured all week. At 11 AM Saturday, March 19, there’s a special Nain beer and mead.
- Iconic Tattoo & Body Piercing – 3401 Cass Ave.: Nain Rouge-inspired tattoos and jewelry specials from Tuesday March 15 through Saturday March 19.
- Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery Detroit – 441 W. Canfield St. #9: Nain-inspired food specials are available all week including a “Blood Bath Beer” or a Watermelon Peppercorn Bloody Mary. The restaurant opens at 10 am Marche morning.
- Majestic Theatre – 4120 Woodward Ave.: 15% off brunch on Marche Day, including bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. Free bowling with your brunch receipt.
- Motor City Brewing Works – 470 W. Canfield St.: A special “La Nain” pizza – jalapeno/cilantro pesto, quattro formaggi, bacon, fresh tomatoes, with optional sriracha pentagram. It opens at 10 am on Marche day serving beer and breakfast including breakfast burritos, Red Hook coffee and special bloody beers.
- My Dad’s Bar – Detroit – 14911 Kercheval Ave.: A “Nain Rouge Boilermaker” special – only $5 – Monday thru Saturday.
- Pure Detroit – 3011 W. Grand Blvd. #101: Stella Good’s Nain Rouge Roast whole bean coffee available all week.
- The Red Hook Detroit – Red Hook coffee on Motor City Brewing Works’ patio, starting at 10 am.
- Selden Standard – 3921 Second Ave.: Nain-Day Brunch at the premium watching spot along the parade route. Appropriate Nain welcoming food and drink will be featured.
- Slows To Go – 4107 Cass Ave.: NOLA-inspired red beans and rice, w or w/o Andouille sausage available all Fete Week. There will be a food trailer on Second Ave. near the start of the parade on Marche day.
- Source Booksellers – 4240 Cass Ave.: Spring Fling with Urban Stringz at 3 pm and a talk with author Farai Chideya at 4 pm.
- Stella Good Coffee – 3011 W. Grand Blvd. #110A: Nain Rouge Latte dusted with cinnamon and Nain Rouge Roast, a whole bean coffee, are available all week. Stella’s Nain in a Cup will appear around Detroit all week.
- St. Cece’s Food & Spirits – 1426 Bagley Ave.: Le Petit Nain Rouge cocktail or Nain Rouge wine all week long.
- Traffic Jam & Snug – 511 W. Canfield St.: Specials Friday to Sunday include Crawfish Boil, a devilish mess of fiery red hot crawdads just up from NOLA with Redskins, corn on the cob and Andouille sausage. There’s also Devil in a Red Dress, devil’s food cake filled with chocolate ganache clothed in a red raspberry cream frosting and vanilla ice cream. Happy Hour pricing at bar from 2:00 pm to close.
- Treat Dreams – 4160 Cass Ave.: Nain Rouge special ice cream running all week.
- Union Street Detroit – 4145 Woodward Ave.: Red Devil spicy wings and jumbo shrimp po-boy. Absinthe frappe and bourbon milk punch are also available.
- 8 Degrees Plato Detroit – 3409 Cass Ave. – Staring Friday Nain Rouge-themed beers and fancy French champagne cocktails.
The Marche du Nain Rouge starts at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 20, at the corner of Canfield and Second in Detroit, and finishes at the Masonic Temple.
Find details at www.marchedunainrouge.com.
More on the Nain Rouge
In 1701, legend says Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac was warned by a fortune teller to beware a red devil, or Nain Rouge, which appeared in his dreams. He was told this was an omen of doom.
Cadillac saw the Nain Rouge in person as he settled upon the straits between Michigan and Ontario, where Detroit now sits. The creature was promptly chased off by Cadillac with a stick, setting a precedent of the city being known for courage and the ability to endure, even when it seems improbable.
The fortune teller’s warning wasn’t that the city wouldn’t prosper but rather it would be an uphill battle. It was but things did not fare so well for Cadillac. The man who brought Detroit to the world died penniless upon his return to France.
During Detroit’s darkest hours it is said the Nain has been seen taunting and mocking the city. So to fend him off and make sure he doesn’t do his dirty work, Detroiters gather just days after spring has sprung to welcome a new beginning and cheer about all that is good in Detroit. However, just in case he shows up, attendees are encouraged to come in costume so as they celebrate and revel in hope for their city the Nain will not be able to seek revenge.
If you’d like to find out more about the Nain Rouge click here. Michigan’s Other Side has a great story about the Red Dwarf.
If you can’t get enough of the dwarf at the parade you can stop by the Detroit Beer Company for a taste of The Detroit Dwarf, its classic Altbier style beer. Amber in color with a nice bite from German hops.