The Krewe of Kolosse is a traditional Mardi Gras Krewe that has brought the traditional observance of Mardi Gras to Dothan, AL. The Krewe of Kolosse, or KOK, is a men’s society for men from 30 years and up. We organize and run Dothan’s first and only Mardi Gras Parade from the Garden District to downtown Dothan so that everyone in this area can participate in Mardi Gras. We have grown every year and now have over 180 members from all aspects of Dothan’s population. In addition to our parade we select charities each year to support and with the help of our sister organization, the Order of the Black Dress, we conduct fundraisers during the year to benefit these charities. In addition to the Parade and fundraising, we have a traditional Mardi Gras Ball in Dothan. At this Ball we allow the daughters and granddaughters of our members to be presented for their debut into society. One of the debutants is selected as the Queen of Kolosse and one of our members is selected each year to be King Kolosse. To date there have been five Kings of Kolosse and each year the King is revealed at the beginning of the float building season in October.
In February of 2014 a small group of friends decided we needed a Mardi Gras Parade in Dothan. One of the group applied for a parade permit on a whim and to everyone’s surprise, it was granted. Nine days later Dothan had its first Mardi Gras Parade. The first parade was made up of five floats and two antique cars and wound from Solomon Park through the Garden District and after crossing Main Street on Park, ended at Nativity Episcopal Church. The parade was so well attended that a group of four of the organizers decided to create a men’s Mardi Gras Krewe following the Mardi Gras traditions of Mobile and New Orleans. We selected the name Krewe of Kolosse as a reference to the French word for Giants. The group wanted to preserve some of the older social traditions and customs and therefore organized a Mardi Gras Ball with traditional ball attire of white tie and tails for members and full length ball gowns for ladies. Our first Ball was in February of 2015 and the Ball and Parade has grown in size ever since.
Our first floats were simple trailers with decorations but were soon replaced with modified peanut wagons to allow several wagons to be connected as a single float. This was a nod to our local farmers and the huge impact peanuts have had on our area. We expanded the parade route to allow us to parade downtown so more people could see the parade. The Parade route includes the neighborhood around Solomon Park and is the “day” part of the parade. As the floats we built became more sophisticated and included lighting elements, we adjusted our parade start time and route so that we could finish on Foster Street after sunset. This way Dothan has one Mardi Gras parade but people can experience both a day parade and a night parade.
The Krewe of Kolosse, or KOK, invited other groups to parade with us and within just a few years there were several other Mardi Gras Krewes organized and parading with us in the KOK Mardi Gras Parade. As of 2022 there are nine other Mardi Gras organizations who parade with us and have their own Ball and other social events. Our parade is presided over by King Kolosse who is selected from our members each year and rides on the last float of the parade. King Kolosse distributes prize throws including the coveted gold coconuts. Only 50 of these golden coconuts are painted and decorated and then thrown by the King along the route. Queen Kolosse is selected from the daughters and granddaughters of members who are presented at our Mardi Gras Ball. Queen Kolosse and her court are guided through their debutant experience by the women of the Order of the Black Dress or OBD as they are better known. The Queen and her Court ride the Queen’s float in the parade. Each KOK float has its own theme and costumes and several change this up each year so that you will never see the same parade twice.
In 2018 the Krewe obtained a 150 year old cotton warehouse downtown to house our floats. This allows us to build more complex and ornate floats as they are protected from the elements all year.