Pony Event Schedule

JOIN US FOR THE 98th ANNUAL CHINCOTEAGUE PONY SWIM & AUCTION - JULY 26 & 27, 2023.  DETAILS BELOW WILL UPDATED AS THEY BECOME AVAILABLE, SO PLEASE CHECK BACK.

Friday, July 1 & Saturday, July 2, 2022

Carnival – Opening Ceremony 6:30pm
7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, live music, Bingo, and raffles. 

Trolley Service – Last call at 10pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.50 per ride)

Monday, July 4, 2022

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, live music, Bingo, and raffles. 

Old-Fashioned Fireworks Display – 10pm
Fireworks sponsored by Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company

Trolley Service – Last call at 11pm behind Carnival Grounds on Willow Street (free service)

Friday, July 22, 2022

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, live music, Bingo, and raffles. 

Trolley Service – Last call at 10pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.50 per ride)

Saturday, July 23, 2022

South Herd Roundup – 6am (Time updated by CVFC on 7/19)

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, live music, Bingo, and raffles. Tickets for the Neptune Pony go on sale at the Information Stand! You must have a ticket and be present at the carnival bandstand at 7pm on Wednesday to win.

Trolley Service – Last call at 10pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.50 per ride)

This is the first major event before the exciting Pony Swim! The “Saltwater Cowboys” will ride out to the southern end of Assateague Island to herd the more than 50 ponies (adults and foals) inhabiting this part of the island into the Southern Corral. The public may come view the arrival of the ponies at the Southern Corral on Beach Road. The ponies will be here Saturday through Tuesday for photos and viewing.

PLEASE NOTE: Pets are not permitted on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

See video of the 2017 South Herd Roundup:

Sunday, July 24, 2022

North Herd Roundup – 6am

Note: Public is NOT permitted to north herd roundup)

The northern end of Assateague Island VA is home to the largest population of ponies and their foals, about 100 to 150 total. The “Saltwater Cowboys” herd this group into the Northern Corral.

PLEASE NOTE, this is not a public event as this part of the island is not accessible.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Beach Walk – 6am North meets south when the “Saltwater Cowboys” release the Northern herd ponies and walk them along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean to join the ponies at the Southern Corral.

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, live music, Bingo, and raffles. 

Ponies leave North Corral at daybreak. It is advised to be at Assateague Island National Seashore by 6am for parking purposes. Assateague Island opens at 5am. Bring your beach gear and stay for the day or walk behind the ponies to the corral and visit awhile. Bikers and hikers may access the beach via Swan Cove Trail.

PLEASE NOTE: Pets are not permitted on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Vet Check and Selection of Buyback Ponies – South Corral. Approximately 9am.

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, live music, Bingo, and raffles. 

We want to be sure our ponies are healthy for the big swim. The public may view the ponies in the Southern Corral during the veterinary checks. Parking is available in the lot at Woodland Trail.

PLEASE NOTE: Pets are not permitted on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Shuttles – Begin at 5am and end one hour after ponies arrive at the Carnival Grounds (free). Click here for the Shuttle Map.

Pony Swim – 8:30am – 10:30am window (announced by CVFC on 7/12/22)

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, live music, Bingo, and raffles. Neptune raffle will take place at the bandstand at 7pm. You must be present to win.

Trolley Service – Runs 8am – 10pm only ($0.50 per ride after 5pm)

At “slack tide”– The Chincoteague Ponies will swim across the Assateague Channel, led by the Saltwater Cowboys, just south of Veterans Memorial Park (7427 Memorial Park Dr,  Chincoteague Island, VA  23336) on the east side of Chincoteague Island called Pony Swim Lane. Folks wishing to view the swim from Pony Swim Lane are advised to wear appropriate attire—old clothing and closed toe shoes or muck boots—as this area is very muddy.

There is no charge by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company or Town of Chincoteague for parking or seeing the ponies swim. All parking at Veteran’s Memorial Park is designated for tour buses. All those seeking handicap parking and all day-trippers are encouraged to go to the Municipal Center (6150 Community Drive, Chincoteague Island, VA  23336) and catch the free shuttle. There will be a handicap accessible bus for your convenience.  Those staying on the island may catch a shuttle bus near their lodging.

Charter boats and kayak tours/rentals are also available for watching the Pony Swim. Call the chamber office at 757-336-6161 for assistance in finding available seats. Spaces fill up quickly so don’t wait until the last minute.

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 bandstand at 7pm.  Tickets are sold each night at the carnival and during the wait time for the swim. 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 for parade route.

The carnival will be held from 7pm – 11pm with rides, games, and lots of good food.

PLEASE NOTE: Pets are not permitted in Memorial Park or the Carnival Grounds.

See video of the 2017 Pony Swim and Parade:

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Auction of Foals – 8am at Carnival grounds.

Trolley Service  – 8am – 12pm (free)

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, live music, Bingo, and raffles. 

The annual pony auction raises funds for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and for the veterinary care of the ponies. The auction also serves to help control the pony population on Assateague Island. Foals will be auctioned at 8am on the Carnival grounds, and winners will receive certificates of purchase from the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company.

Select ponies, designated as “buy backs,” will also be auctioned, but returned to the herd to help maintain the population. Each winner of a “buy back” pony gets to name their adopted pony. The “buy back” auctions are typically the most popular at this event, so if you’re interested in naming a Chincoteague pony be ready to bid!

A few tips to remember:

1. Be there early if you wish to bid on a pony. The crowds are huge and you will want a space as close to the front as possible.

2. Wear a sun hat and sunscreen. Bring plenty to drink. A pencil and paper are always useful. A camera is nice. A folding chair is a great idea as bleachers will not be available due to insurance restrictions.

3. You do not have to register for the in-person auction. If you raise your hand during the auctioneer’s chant, you ARE MAKING A BID. New in 2022, online bidding is also available during the live auction and registration is required. More information is available on our Auction page.

For an idea of how much ponies go for in auction, visit our Pony Auction page.

PLEASE NOTE: Pets are not permitted in Memorial Park or the Carnival Grounds.

 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Pony Swim Back – Ponies will leave the Carnival Grounds at 10:30am and reverse the Pony Parade Route with an anticipated swim time of 11:15am.

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, live music, Bingo, and raffles. 

Trolley Service – 5pm – 10pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.50 per ride)

On Friday morning, the adult ponies make their swim back to Assateague Island where they will live…until it’s time for the Pony Swim next year!

Saturday, July 30, 2022

 

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, live music, Bingo, and raffles. 

NEW for 2022!!! Old-Fashioned Fireworks Display – 10pm
Fireworks sponsored by Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company

Trolley Service – 5pm – 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.50 per ride)

Our amazing Pony Penning week concludes with the Carnival, from 7pm – 11pm.

See more videos of past Pony Penning and Swim events on our Facebook page!

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