Pony Event Schedule

Friday, June 29 & Saturday, June 30, 2018

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Opening Ceremony & Welcome. Carnival rides, games, food, raffles.
Trolley Service – Last call at 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.25 per ride)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, and raffles. 
Old-Fashioned Fireworks Display – 10pm
Fireworks sponsored by Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce, Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company & Town of Chincoteague
Trolley Service – Last call at 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.25 per ride)

Thursday, July 5, Friday, July 6 & Saturday, July 7, 2018

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, and raffles.
Trolley Service – Last call at 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.25 per ride)

Friday, July 13 & Saturday, July 14, 2018

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, and raffles.
Trolley Service – Last call at 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.25 per ride)

Friday, July 20 & Saturday, July 21, 2018

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, and raffles.
Trolley Service – Last call at 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.25 per ride)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

South Herd Roundup – approximately 4pm

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 these ponies, and also visit and take pictures of the corral July 21 through July 24.

See video of the 2017 South Herd Roundup:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

North Herd Roundup – approximately 7am (Note: Public is NOT permitted to north herd roundup)

The northern end of Assateague Island 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. However, you may reserve tickets for special bus tours riding up to the Northern Corral after the roundup. Please contact us for information on the bus tours. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Beach Walk – Ponies leave north corral at 6am – See the ponies make their way from the north corral to the south corral along the beach. Meet at Assateague Beach by 6am for parking purposes.
Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, and raffles.
Trolley Service – Last call at 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.25 per ride)

North meets south when the “Saltwater Cowboys” release the Northern Corral ponies and walk them along the shore to join the ponies at the Southern Corral. This event begins at 6am, so if you want to want to watch the beach walk it’s advised to be at Assateague Beach before then. Parking is limited. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, and raffles.
Trolley Service – Last call at 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.25 per ride)

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. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Shuttles – Begin around 4am – 5am (2018 times not yet announced) and end one hour after ponies arrive at the Carnival Grounds (free)
Pony Swim – TBD – 6am – 2pm Window 
Trolley Service – Begin at 11am in front of Carnival Grounds until Midnight ($0.25 per ride)
Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, and raffles.

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.  Those staying on the island may catch a shuttle bus near their lodging. Shuttles begin around 4am – 5am and end one hour after the ponies arrive at the Carnival grounds.

The window for the swim runs from 7am to 1pm. 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 for parade route. 

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

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

See video of the 2017 Pony Swim and Parade:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Auction of Foals – 8am at Carnival grounds. 
Trolley Service  – 7am – 1pm ($0.25 per ride)
Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, and raffles.
Trolley Service – Regular evening schedule with last call at 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.25 per ride)

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 Chincoteague 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 auction gets to name their adopted pony, and proceeds from the auction are donated to regional charity. 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 good idea since the bleachers fill up quickly.

3. You do not have to register for the auction. If you raise your hand during the auctioneer’s chant, you ARE MAKING A BID.

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

Pony Swim Back – TBD
Trolley Service – 6am – 1pm ($0.25 per ride)
Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, and raffles.
Trolley Service – Regular evening schedule with last call at 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.25 per ride)

On Friday morning, the ponies make their swim back to Assateague Island where they will live…until it’s time for the Pony Swim in 2019!

Saturday, July 28, 2018 – LAST NIGHT FOR 2018. See you next year!

Carnival – 7pm – 11pm. Rides, games, food, and raffles.
Trolley Service – Last call at 11pm in front of Carnival Grounds ($0.25 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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COVER CREDIT: "Assateague Lighthouse" Magazine Collage by Laura Laird
INSIDE COVER CREDIT: Laura Davis