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.)