Marche du Nain Rouge moves beyond the corridor - The South End: Arts & Entertainment

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Marche du Nain Rouge moves beyond the corridor

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Posted: Friday, March 24, 2017 8:00 am

Community organizers will host the Marche du Nain Rouge, a celebration of the city’s triumph over the mythical creature the Nain Rouge—a symbol for the city’s problems and roadblocks—on March 26 through the Cass Corridor.

The event is based on the folklore of Detroit’s founding by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. According to the website, Cadillac was greeted by the Nain in a dream and a fortune teller told him the fiendish imp would haunt him in his efforts to settle in the new world. 

Cadillac’s “fortune turned out to be true and Cadillac died penniless after he left Detroit for France. The city he founded, however, fared better, endured and prospered,” says the website.

While the city prospered in Cadillac's time, the Nain has haunted Detroit’s storied history. In the years since Detroit’s new beginning the March Du Nain Rouge has become a way to celebrate the crushing of the Nain and Detroit in better times.

In 2016, organizers made it a priority to connect with communities beyond Cass Corridor in an effort to support not just Midtown, but all of Detroit.

Their website says, “The marche is expanding its neighborhood outreach and competition to encourage more participation from across Detroit. We are building on our successful partnership with the Mayor’s office Department of Neighborhoods, and with matching financial support from Midtown Detroit, Inc.”

Francis Gunrow, a community organizer, said the march began crowdfunding in 2016 to help people from their communities lobby for support and interest in participating with the march.

“We had a crowdfunded neighborhood grant fund where we awarded grants to each district manager who helped identify community groups interested in building a float or costume for the parade,” said Gunrow.

Midtown Detroit Inc., a nonprofit planning and development organization, is a primary donor to the march at the Le Centre Du Monde sponsorship level surpassing Detroit donors like Quicken Loans and The Skillman Foundation in their support. Gunrow said they have been a tremendous help.

“In terms of business outreach, our local sponsors help us tremendously underwrite parade costs,” Gunrow said. “In return we work to promote patronage at local businesses along the route, and encourage themed events and specials during the week leading up to the parade.”

For more information, visit  

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