Summer! After spring, is there any other season more welcome? The warmth and light, the activity, and all the great things to see and do that make up the season. One annual summer event that’s a favorite around these parts is the Chincoteague Volunteer Fireman's Carnival, held every year through the month of July.
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You’ve heard of the annual Pony Swim that occurs every summer but did you know that there are two other roundups during the year, too. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company holds a roundup in the spring and the fall, as well.
These roundups allow the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company a chance to give the herd an overall health check. The spring pony roundup also sees buybacks from the previous year’s auction released back into the wild.
While these seasonal, health-check roundups are nowhere near the spectacle of the annual swim, they’re still very much worth experiencing. Further, as the two events are not as famous as the Pony Swim, the crowds are lesser, too. That means more viewing the wild ponies of Assateague close-up and less time fighting crowds.
The roundups are split into two days to accommodate the two separate herds of wild horses on Assateague.
The southern herd is the first to be rounded up: April 7th, 5 pm. The pen for this herd is located on the road going out to the beach on Assateague Island. The southern herd is smaller and closer with plenty of parking. Consequently, this first roundup only lasts a few hours and is the most popular of the two spring pony roundup events.
The roundup for the northern herd is scheduled for 8 am on April 8th. This herd is located on the northern end of Assateague Island, translating into a three-mile hike, one way, up the island’s service road. One has to be prepared for the hike but, because of this perceived inconvenience, the Saturday morning roundup tends to be a less crowded.
The northern herd is quite a bit larger than the southern, so the roundup is a much longer affair. Add in the combined six-mile hike and you’re making a day of it. Fun!
Either date will provide you with an indelible snapshot of these gorgeous wild horses and the amazing lives they lead. Come see the wild ponies of Assateague!
2017 Chincoteague Spring Pony Roundup
April 7th & 8th
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Visit: www.chincoteaguechamber.com for more details and a guide to other events and attractions on Chincoteague Island.
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The Chincoteague Fireman’s Carnival – alive with rides, games, raffles, and lots of good food – opens each night at 7 pm during the 2014 Chincoteague Pony Swim week and serves as something like a base of operations for much of the process.
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