Marche du Nain Rouge Festival and Parade in Detroit

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What caused this brutal winter Michigan's had? A moody Mother Nature? Global warming? Nope. If you're a Detroiter – blame the dwarf!

That's right. The city's mythical red imp has been stirring up all of our problems for hundreds of years now. But families get a special chance to drive him out of town right around spring's start every year. And the Marche du Nain Rouge returns to Midtown in Detroit on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

This year's parade, which steps off at 1 p.m., has a "Fire and Ice" theme. Come as you are – or use this as a great excuse to whip up a zany costume. Creativity is highly encouraged. You'll also spot variety of inventive handmade "chariots." Deck out your kids' wagon to join in the fun.

Be on watch for some scene-stealing characters. A "huge mechanized creature" is due to make a cameo, organizers tell Metro Parent. And, of course, the nasty ol' Nain is sure to try to wreak havoc. Will revelers once again drive him out? The more, the merrier – and the better the odds.

The parade starts at Traffic Jam & Snug restaurant and winds down Cass Avenue, through the North Corridor before ending at Temple Street. After the outdoor shenanigans wrap at around 3 p.m., visit the Masonic Temple for free fun till about 6 p.m. Pirates of the Caribbean actor Martin Klebba will be on hand, helping launch a campaign for a new graphic novel about the Nain Rouge. Food and drinks are for sale, too.

Want to make a full day of it? Start at the City Bird shop. Here, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., you'll find fun "gruesome make-your-own masks" for the kiddos to decorate – plus score some free beads with any purchase for a little Mardi Gras-style flair. There's also an 11 a.m. Run du Nain Rouge (it's $35 to register). Watch for lots of restaurant and shop deals in the area, too.

To find the basics on this year's Marche du Nain Rouge parade and festivities in Midtown Detroit – plus a link to its official site for full details – check out the Metro Parent calendar listing.

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