Canceled–World Famous Pony Swim Day

Date(s) - 07/29/2020
All Day


Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and after carefully analyzing the three Phases as set forth by Governor Northam for opening Virginia, the Board of Directors of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company voted to cancel the 2020 Chincoteague Volunteer Fireman’s Carnival & Pony Penning celebration scheduled to begin July 2, 2020. Please understand that this was not an easy decision to make, with the last pony penning being cancelled over 78 years ago during the second World War. We know how much this community loves this fire company and supports our carnival but with the restrictions put into the phases to prevent the spread of the corona virus, it was the only logical decision to make.

With this said, the foals of the pony herd will be sold by way of online auction, with a date to be determined by the Pony Committee. Plans are still being arranged as to where the ponies will physically be during the auction and we encourage you to keep a close watch on the developments as plans are made public on the auction. Our longtime auctioneer Tim Jennings will be conducting the auction and it should be a positive event for this fire company.

I pray all of you are staying safe, and please don’t hesitate to call us if you need us. We will always be here for you!

Alex Tucker, President
Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.

More information about the online auction and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge closures can be found on the Auction Day page.



Wednesday July 29, 2020

At “slack tide” – Time to be announced at a later date by Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The Chincoteague Ponies will swim across the Assateague Channel just south of Memorial Park (7427 Memorial Park Dr, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336) on the east side of Chincoteague Island. There is no charge by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company for parking or seeing the ponies swim. The ONLY parking at Memorial Park, however, is designated for tour buses. All those seeking handicap parking and all day-trippers are encouraged to go to Municipal Center (6150 Community Drive, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336) and catch the free shuttle. There will be a handicap accessible bus for your convenience (click here for shuttle information and link to official shuttle map). Those staying on the island may catch a shuttle bus near their lodging.

The first foal to come ashore will be named King or Queen Neptune and will be given away in a raffle drawing at the carnival grounds later in the day (time to be announced). Tickets are sold each night at the carnival and amongst the crowd while waiting for the swim to occur. You must have a ticket and you must be present to win.

After swimming the short distance across the channel, the ponies will rest for approximately 45 minutes to an hour before “parading” to the carnival grounds on Main Street. See shuttle bus map below for parade route.

The carnival will open at 7:00 p.m. with rides, games, and lots of good food.

Note: Pets are not permitted in Memorial Park or the Carnival Grounds.
Coast Guard on Alert for Illegal Charter Boats During Chincoteague Pony Swim
(The Coast Guard is cautioning tourists attending the pony swim to avoid boats that do not have licensed captains, and in some cases have not been inspected by the Coast Guard.)

7:00 p.m. – Carnival attractions.

Click here for detailed Pony Swim shuttle map.

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