The Madison Regatta just got a lot more kid friendly, thanks to a hefty financial commitment from Arvin-Sango.

The Regatta will offer a carnival to go along with the other festivities at this year’s 69th running of the race and all children ages 14 and under will get into the race site for free.

It’s all due to a sponsorship from Arvin-Sango, which offered to pay for the carnival and then decided to lessen costs for parents by purchasing admission wristbands for children to the race as well.

“This is a really cool thing and this really gives families something else to look forward to,” Madison Regatta Vice-President Curtis Chatham said. “We’re thrilled that Arvin-Sango has stepped up to the plate to offer this.”

The carnival, which will have between 11 and 14 rides for various ages, will be located in the parking lot at the foot of Jefferson Street with a possible overflow into Fireman’s Park. It will be open all race weekend. Admission is free but tickets will be required for the various attractions.

The carnival announcement was made at the now weekly general membership meeting of Madison Regatta Inc., which was held at The Boneyard Grill.

Chatham, who ran the meeting in place of president Matt True, also announced that the Regatta had received a $75,000 grant from the state of Indiana for improvements within the race area. The Regatta plans on using that money to upgrade the judges stand by adding a second deck for the media, as well as improving utilities hookups throughout the riverfront.

As for the race itself, the Regatta has received notice by H1 Unlimited to expect up to eight boats to run for the APBA Gold Cup, which will be contested in Madison for the first time since 1980. Seven teams are all but confirmed, including the local U-6 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison, the defending national champion U-1 Delta/Realtrac, the U-11 J&Ds, and the U-440 Bucket List Racing. Owner Rob Graham is now expected to bring two boats to the race, his U-12 Graham Trucking and U-98 Graham Trucking, and the Detroit-based U-7 Spirit of Detroit is also expected to be on hand.

The eighth boat is still undecided but the possibility of Miss Madison Racing running a second entry is still on the table.

Those eight boats, along with 10 confirmed Grand Prix World class boats and 14 vintage boats, will fill the pit area. Racing will be on Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7, but a “Free Friday” will be held that will see all classes of boats on the water for testing with no admission for fans. The radio-controlled hydroplanes will also be on the Ohio River on that Friday running laps.

Wednesday’s meeting was the first of five weekly meetings the Regatta will hold over the next month as it prepares for the festival and race that is now only 23 days from beginning.

In other news:

• Deadline to enter the annual Miss Madison Regatta Scholarship Pageant is June 16. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship, first runner-up gets $500 and the winner of the new essay contest will receive $250. The event will be held Monday, July 1 at North Madison Christian Church.

Deadlines for the Regatta’s other three pageants, the Little Miss, Miss Princess and Miss Preteen, are June 21. Those pageants will held on Saturday, June 29.

• The Regatta office is now open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Wristbands can be purchased at the office or at area businesses.

• The Regatta is seeking volunteer help in the office and the pits as well as boats to help on the race course. If interested, contact the Regatta at the office.