The Times

MICHIGAN CITY — Surviving members of the Elston High School boys basketball state championship team from 50 years ago will be honored in Michigan City's Independence Day parade set for 11 a.m. Saturday.

Warren Jones, the high school principal at the time, will also be in Saturday's parade to help commemorate the anniversary.

Mike Dempsey, one of the coordinators of the parade, said eight of the 11 surviving members of the squad will be on a float while Jones, now 95, will ride separately inside a vehicle.

"I want to make sure he has some air conditioning. It'll be a good day," said Dempsey.

The head coach, Doug Jones, died many years ago.

Normally, the parade is held the weekend after July 4 as part of the city's annual Summer Festival, but the responsibility of organizing the parade transferred this year from the Summer Festival committee to the city and the desire was to have it on the long July 4 weekend, said Dempsey.

"With this being the 200th birthday of Indiana, our bicentennial, we wanted to honor that in our parade so we wanted to do it on that patriotic weekend," Dempsey said.

The parade on Franklin Street will also start at Arthur Street and head north as opposed to beginning at 11th Street, as in previous years.

That's because it's no longer possible for the staging area for the parade to be on Washington Street due to Washington and Pine streets recently being converted from one-way to two-way travel.

The staging area is now in a parking lot near Ames Field at Arthur Street.

About 150 units are expected to be in the parade, about 30 more than last year, and other highlights will include a skydiver holding an American flag landing over the parade route on Gill Field at the former Elston High School.

Circus acts, stilt walkers, Uncle Sam and a 24-piece patriotic brass band out of Chicago will be among the other units.

"It'll be a bigger and better parade," Dempsey said.