No wild pony swim at Chincoteague this summer

You won’t be able to see the wild ponies swim at Chincoteague on Virginia’s Eastern Shore this summer.

The event has been canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions, said Denise Bowden, spokeswoman for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Co.

The fire company made the decision in March and put an announcement on its Facebook page.

“After much deliberation the fire company regrets to announce the cancellation of the 2021 carnival/pony penning activities,” the message said, adding that there were “too many unknowns to take a chance” in holding the event.

The pony swim was canceled last year because of the coronavirus. It was the first time since World War II that the event had not been held.

The pony swim, which draws tens of thousands of people to Chincoteague, is the main fundraiser for the volunteer fire department. The ponies swim from Assateague to Chincoteague and are usually auctioned off on the last Thursday in July.

Like last year, the auction of wild ponies and the right to name some will take place online this July, said Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company President Hunter Leonard.

He said he expects the auctioning of naming rights to reach $10,000 or more.

“This has been a rough year for everyone,” the Facebook post said. “So many people have suffered unimaginable losses but I’m so confident that we all will bounce back in 2022 and that it will be the best year ever!!!”

WTOP’s Matt Small contributed to this report.

Colleen Kelleher

Colleen Kelleher is an award-winning journalist who has been with WTOP since 1996. Kelleher joined WTOP as the afternoon radio writer and night and weekend editor and made the move to in 2001. Now she works early mornings as the site's Senior Digital Editor.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up