Children dressed in their best dancing to popular patriotic songs, and a march-past by children from the government blind school were the highlights of the 63rd Republic Day celebrations here on Thursday.

The ceremonial parade by the different wings of the police, Home Guards, NCC cadets, girls from the Seva Dal, Scouts and Guides, and the boys of the government blind school, was led by IPS probationer Pavan Najjur.

Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai, who unfurled the national flag, honoured freedom fighters Jogala Sham Pawar, Bheem Rao Kottargi, and Bhimsen Rao.

He also honoured sergeant Sneha Gajure and cadets Mahadev Patil, Sharan Kumar, Vijaylaxmi Shinde, Puneet Kumar and Kavya for their participation in the all-India competitions in New Delhi last year.

Later, more than 3,000 children from different schools kept the audience at the colourful Chandrashekhar Patil stadium glued to their seats with mass drill and dance programmes.

While children from the Vikas English Medium School danced to A.R. Rehman's Vande Mataram and Jai Ho , Dominant Education Society students danced to Mere desh ki dharthi ugale , Farhaan English Medium school to a Kannada song and Sharanabasaveshwar Public School to Vande Mataram . Students from the Government Girls SC& ST Residential School and Pragjya English Medium School also put up near-perfect performances.