Chincoteague Island celebrates 94 years of pony love

Chincoteague IslandPony Penning is a time of homecoming and celebration for those who have ever claimed Chincoteague Island as their home.

Folks come home the last full week in July to rekindle, reconnect, and recharge with family and friends during this exciting week of Pony Love. Visitors from around the world will experience this decades old event this year as we celebrate Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 50 Year anniversary of the “Virginia is For Lovers” slogan.

Thousands line the shores of Veterans Memorial Park and Pony Swim Lane to watch the world-famous Chincoteague Ponies make their annual pilgrimage from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. Charter boats line the Assateague Channel creating a pathway for the ponies as they make their yearly swim from shore to shore. Watch the swim on the giant Jumbotron in Memorial Park sponsored by the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce, Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, Affordable Business Systems, Best Western Chincoteague, Chincoteague Island House of Jerky, Comfort Suites, Marina Bay Hotel & Suites, Refuge Inn, Sea Shell Motel, Seaside Vacations, The Bike Depot, Waterside Inn and the Town of Chincoteague.

The traditional Beach Walk on Assateague Island at 6 a.m. on Monday, July 22nd begins the week’s festivities. The north herd of wild Chincoteague Ponies will join the south herd to await the “big day”. The annual swim on Wednesday, July 24th is at the earliest morning slack tide—officials predict a window of time between 8:30-10:30 a.m. Visit and the chamber Facebook page for updates, shuttle map and information including where to park if you are coming in for the day, helpful hints and full schedule of events. Shuttle buses will start running at 5 a.m. The auction of foals takes place on Thursday morning July 25th at 8 a.m. at the Carnival Grounds on Main Street.

“Proceeds from one of this year’s buy back foals will benefit the United Way of the Eastern Shore,” according to Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company PR Officer Denise Bowden.

The week’s events culminate with the return swim of the adult ponies to Assateague on Friday morning July 26th (time to be announced on Thursday). The Chincoteague Volunteer Fireman’s Carnival will be open July 3-6, 12-13, 19-20, 22-27 from 7-11 p.m. featuring rides, games, raffles, and fabulous Eastern Shore food.

Other events are being hosted through August 10 in recognition of the 50 Years of Love celebration. Check the chamber website for details:

This is the year to check Pony Penning off your “bucket list.”


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