The Detroit Party Marching Band performs in last year’s Marche du Nain Rouge in the Cass Corridor. Thousands gathered for the parade. (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)
Detroit businesses, from Corktown to Eastern Market, are hoping to cash in on the 3,000 costumed revelers expected at Sunday's fourth-annual Marche du Nain Rouge in Midtown.
Held as spring begins, the event is a Mardi Gras-style parade that starts at 1 p.m. and invites citizens to join in to help banish the malevolent nain rouge (red dwarf) and save Detroit from its woes for another year.
The parade, which takes place along Cass Avenue between Canfield and Temple streets, has grown each year since it began in 2010.
And this year, a growing number of boutiques, bars and restaurants are joining the parade, so to speak.
The number of businesses offering parade-goers and spectators discounts and specials — everything from nain-inspired cocktails and pizzas to dog nail trims and bicycle tune-ups — has more than doubled from a year ago, event organizers said.
At least 24 businesses are offering nain-themed specials, and some are advertising additional discounts for participants in this year's inaugural Run du Nain Rouge, a 5K race that takes place before the parade.
Model D, a Web-based magazine that focuses on Detroit development, is hosting a pre-party Saturday at its 4470 Second Ave. building with food and drinks from neighboring restaurants. A handful of bars are hosting after-parties Sunday as well.
Kelli Kavanaugh, who helped organize the run, said the group is "extremely pleased" to so see so many businesses participating this year. "The Marche du Nain Rouge and the Run du Nain Rouge are fun activities created to increase awareness about the Detroit community," she said in a press release.
Among the businesses joining the fun is SocraTea, a Midtown tea house that opened in December.
The tea house is offering two nain-inspired drinks — a Rooibos tea that pairs well with desserts, and a Lapsang black tea that has a smoky taste — along with two types of cupcakes from Michigan-based bakers. Each tea and cupcake combo is $4.
"Hopefully it brings a lot of awareness to my business, but also to Midtown and the city in general," said owner Megan Jones. "It's a fun way to celebrate Detroit."
Emily Linn, co-owner of City Bird and Nest — two boutique shops that sell Detroit-themed goods — is supplying event T-shirts and souvenirs at her shops on West Canfield, near the parade's starting point. She'll offer 10 percent off all merchandise at both shops to runners.
"It's been great to bring the neighborhood businesses and residents together," Linn said. "Banishing the nain and the rebirth is a great metaphor for what we want to have happen in the city."