Dancing Grannies Make First Return After Losing 4 Members in Waukesha Parade Crash

On Saturday night, Wisconsin's Dancing Grannies group made their first appearance since four of their members were killed at a parade in late November.

Two weeks ago, an SUV barreled through the crowds that were gathered for the Waukesha Christmas Parade, killing four of the Dancing Grannies' members: Tamara Durand, 52, Virginia "Ginny" Sorenson, 79, Wilhelm Hospel, 81, and Leanna "Lee" Owen, 71.

The Dancing Grannies marched at the Franklin Christmas parade on Saturday to honor those who passed. They did not perform; rather, "they walked arm-in-arm, waving at the cheering crowds along the parade route and wishing them a merry Christmas," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The members wore matching blue sweaters that had the names of those who passed emblazoned on the backs, along with flowers pinned to the fronts of their sweaters.

"We really decided that we needed to do this for them," Sharon Millard, who has been a member of the Dancing Grannies for nearly seven years, told Milwaukee news station WISN. "We don't have enough to do a parade anymore because of the loss we've had, but we do have enough to walk in the parade and honor those who died, and walk for them and let the community know that we're still here."

Waukesha Parade, Darrell Brooks
Several citizens of the community showed up to the Franklin Christmas Parade to cheer on the Dancing Grannies, four of whom were killed in the Waukesha Christmas Parade crash. In this photo, a family visits a memorial at Veteran's Park for the victims of the November 21, 2021, deadly Christmas parade crash in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press File

Several citizens of the community showed up to the Franklin Christmas Parade specifically to cheer on and support the Dancing Grannies. People held up signs that read "Granny strong" and "We love you, grandmas."

"All the communities are rallying around us, I never would've thought that this would ever happen, all the love people are showing," Millard told WISN.

The Dancing Grannies group has been an essential part of Wisconsin parades for nearly 40 years and performs in nearly 25 parades every year.

They plan to resume dancing again in spring.

"I don't want people to think that we're done," Millard told the Journal Sentinel. "We're not done. We're going to keep going."

When asked by WISN what she wants people to think of when they think of the Dancing Grannies, she replied: "That we're a fun bunch of ladies! We have fun. That in our hearts we're young, and we're fun and we're a joy to be around."

Millard reflected on the loss of their fellow Dancing Grannies, saying she thinks they're "happy where they are."

"I know they're spending Christmas with Jesus now," she said. "I know they're looking down on us, smiling and dancing with us."