Banishing the Nain Rouge From the City

Peter Van Dyke and Francis Grunow originated the event

Published On: Mar 24 2012 05:47:31 AM EDT   Updated On: Mar 24 2012 12:06:34 PM EDT
Nain Rouge
DETROIT -

This Sunday, approximately 2,000 Detroiters and Detroit lovers will descend upon a parking lot in the city's midtown area to banish the Nain Rouge from the city. In Detroit lore, the Nain Rouge, or red dwarf, was first sighted by Detroit's founder Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, and has haunted Detroit as a harbinger of doom since the city's founding in 1701. Legend has it that the Nain Rouge has been sighted in Detroit shortly before every major calamity in the city's history.

About the Nain Rouge

This Sunday, to commemorate the spring equinox, the Nain Rouge is expected to appear at a "not-to-be-known" spot in the parking lot of the Traffic Jam & Snug, a popular midtown eatery. At that moment, the Nain Rouge will stand for much more than an "evil red gremlin" or a "harbinger of doom."

Among taunts and chants, the Nain Rouge will be banished from Detroit for at least the next year. With that banishing, he will represent the coming together of Detroiters of varied zip codes and creeds, who are gathering for a common purpose -- to celebrate anew in the city of Detroit -- its bright future, and all the good for which our great city is known.

History of the march

The first Marche du Nain Rouge purportedly began more than 300 years ago and the modern day festival, which first took place in 2010, is an interpretation of the long-lost tradition.

This was the impetus for Grunow and Uhl to create the Marche du Nain Rouge. As Detroiters, they recognized a need for their 700,000-some neighbors to join together to shed the bad and celebrate the future. They resolved to banish the Nain Rouge from the city. The first year's Marche was quickly planned and quickly gained street cred. In a matter of three months, a pop-up parade was inspired. It started at 3rd Street Bar's parking lot, where approximately 300 revelers showed.

What to expect

These Detroiters came dressed in every way imaginable, (they were dressed in costumes so the Nain Rouge would not recognize them and seek revenge on them later) despite having no idea what to expect. Although only hearing of the Marche through word of mouth and a few well-designed posters, they came to 3rd Street because there was a new experience to be had in the city; an experience to celebrate our resilience, the very reason for which they love Detroit.

The parade marched through the Cass Corridor and ended in Cass Park, where the sacred Nain-banishing ceremony took place. If you weren't one of the 300 revelers who witnessed the first banishing, you'll never see a ceremony of that caliber again -- another Nain Rouge happening like that may only live on in folklore.

Now, in its third year, old traditions are enjoying a continued revival while new traditions are being co-conspired as we prepare to once again banish the Nain Rouge from Detroit.