Parade crews put final touches on floats ahead of Dothan Mardi Gras parade

Teams prepare to parade throughout Dothan
Wow-ing the crowd doesn’t come without long hours of hard work; especially when you have a mechanical dragon head at the front of your float.
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 6:45 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Krewe of Kolosse Mardi Gras Parade runs through downtown Dothan Saturday.

But before parade-goers see all the floats and catch lots of beads and other goodies, parade crews are putting the final touches on their floats to make sure they have the best float on Saturday.

Krewe of Wu float designer, Chris Lee says the parade is “kind of a little bit of a competition between each of the floats too. Everybody’s always trying to outdo the other.”

A competition that’s all in good fun.

Lee knows the Krewe of Kolosse Parade is about more than just having the best float.

“Just seeing the crowd and what they get out of it, of seeing something nice and bringing something like Mardi Gras to Dothan,” he said.

Wow-ing the crowd doesn’t come without long hours of hard work; especially when you have a mechanical dragon head at the front of your float.

“I think, hardcore putting into it, probably 6 months or more. May have even been 8 months as far as getting the trailers starting the design process, and just kind of built from the time up. At the time there hadn’t been any kind of dragon in parade and we just kind of built from that idea and went from there,” Lee said.

Mary Clayton Rach is a Mobile, AL native – the birthplace of Mardi Gras.

She says, “when they found that out, I quickly became the float chair.”

An artist by trade, coming up with float designs is like second nature to Rach.

“Once I get an idea, I ask for suggestions from the crew and they’ll give me their ideas, and usually I can spin off some fish ideas or mermaid ideas and we just work from there,” Rach said.

From there, the work begins; being sure not to miss a single detail.

“We order our custom throws 6 months in advance. We have over 700 balls that needed to be inflated this year, so the girls come, and they bring balls home, they come help me paint, they come help me touch up the paper mâché if there’s anything to be done like that. It takes a whole crew,” Rach said.

All the hours of hard work that goes into building the floats is for both the city of Dothan and the families that come out to celebrate.

“When you see it parade day, and their reaction, especially from the little girls and little boys that just think the mermaid is so impressive, it makes it all worth it,” Rach concluded.

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