Dancing Grannies prepare for first big parade since Waukesha tragedy
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- Milwaukee's beloved Dancing Grannies are back and ready to put smiles on the faces of the community.
The group is preparing for the St. Patrick's Day parade Saturday. It will be their first big performance since the deadly Waukesha Christmas parade. Four members of the group were killed back in November when a driver plowed through the parade.
The loss has been difficult on the group. "It's not an easy process healing from the tragedy. Some are still physically healing. There are others with emotional and trauma wounds," said Jan Kwiatkowski, Dancing Grannies Co- Leader.
The Dancing Grannies have been warming hearts since the 1980s.
While difficult, the Waukesha incident has brought the group closer together and expanded it. Interest in the group has grown.
"We have 22 prospective grannies right now," said Kwiatkowski.
It's a first in granny history. Typically they only have two or three new members at a time.
Janet Polley is one of nearly two dozen "Grannies in Training". She moved to Wisconsin from California last year.
"I had not heard of this group prior to the tragedy and it just tugged at my heart strings," said Polley.
She said joining the group has been rewarding and she's proud to be a part of moving the group's legacy forward.
"It's such a strong group of women. It's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for to become a part of the community," she said.
In Saturday's parade, they will honor the grannies who died in Waukesha by wearing patches with the number four embroidered to represent the lives lost.
They're also recognizing new members of the group. During Wednesday's rehearsal, the grannies in training were given special sashes to show their Dancing Grannies pride.
Kwiatkowski says she's excited for the future of the group and to continue to give service back to the community.
"We knew we were important to the community but we had no idea really how much we meant to the community," she said.
You can catch the Dancing Grannies Saturday during the St. Patrick's Day Parade and follow their Facebook page for updates on future performances.