The Nain Rouge is, depending who you talk to, Detroit’s scourge or, in a way, our mascot. Either he’s the bringer of doom and misfortune, or some would say that you can spot him enjoying the city at the Aquarium.

An annual Detroit tradition that started with just 300 people and now has grown to more than 6,000, The Marche du Nain Rouge returns for an 8th year this Sunday, March 26. The party kicks off at noon at the corner of Cass and Canfield in Midtown and the parade will depart at 1 p.m. down Cass Avenue to the Masonic Temple to meet the Nain if he once again decides to show his face.

In past years he’s ridden on a giant cockroach, tamed a fire-breathing dragon, run for mayor, among other shenanigans. The Nain has been met by young Detroiters in love, Ghostbusters, and spirits of Detroit’s past and future.

As Detroit in many ways is a biking city, several bike groups are planning to decorate their wheels and roll down Cass together, featuring the wonderful animal creations of Detroit-based metalsmith, Juan Martinez. Also, a recent workshop of the Wire Auto Workers Association of Detroit (WAWAD) will bring out hand-crafted, human-powered wire cars.

Also this year, the cockroach from the Nain’s 2016 appearance will be joined by several other Art Cars, including a new “Bubblemobile” out of Southwest Detroit, and Scrubby Bubble, which has represented Detroit at the Annual Burning Man Festival in Nevada.

Caribbean Mardi Gras Productions will return with floats and amazing sparkly costumes ready to accompany their Pans of Joy steel drum band. The Gabriel Brass Band will return to lead the Marche with their authentic New Orleans second-line sound.

To get Detroiters in the right spirit to meet the Nain, businesses are taking part in Fete du Nain with this week designed to be full of merriment and good city vibes. Check and our Facebook page for participating businesses.

Adding to the spectacle, the Marche du Nain Rouge is inviting all cosplayers and costume-lovers to put on their best capes and wigs and join the fun. Prizes will be offered at the after-party festivities inside the Masonic for the best cosplayer/costume and neighborhood float. There will also be entertainment from DJs, dancing food, drink, official merchandise, a kids zone, and more.

Event particulars, including parking:

Revelers are encouraged to come in costume. The event starts at noon on Sunday, March 26 and is free and open to the public.

Parking will be available on the street, and for $7.50 at nearby Wayne State University lots and structures (Lots 60 and 72 and Structure 8). Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

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