Chincoteague Pony Swim Organizers Looking for Help - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Chincoteague Pony Swim Organizers Looking for Help

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CHINCOTEAGUE, Va.- Organizers of the 92nd annual Chincoteague Volunteer Fireman's Pony Swim are seeking volunteers to help with the event on Wednesday, July 26. Tens of thousands of visitors will gather on Chincoteague Island to watch the swim, and the large influx of cars on the island is expected to create traffic and parking issues. Volunteers are needed to drive shuttle buses, give directions, and help keep heavy traffic under control. 

In recent years, many pony swim volunteers have retired, and the town is in need of a helping hand as over 40,000 visitors are expected to visit the island on the big day.

"It's hard to get somebody to replace [the retired volunteers]. If we don't have someone on the buses, then people won't know where to go, what to do, why they're doing what they're doing," said Chincoteague Business Manager Kelly Lewis.

Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company Ambulance Administrator James Russell has volunteered at the pony swim for over 30 years and said the event is an important tradition in the community.

"It was something that was going on on the island when I was born. We always went to the carnival. If you didn't go to the carnival, something was wrong with you," Russell said. 

More than being a major player in Chincoteague's legacy, Russell said the pony swim also contributes greatly to the island town's economy.

"It really does bring a lot of funds into the island as well as bringing the funds in for [the fire company] because that's our means of making operating funds for the company," he said.

Potential volunteers must meet the following requirements:

  • You don't mind the early day.
  • You know the roads and streets on the island.
  • You know the history of the Pony Swim.
  • You must be willing to meet, greet, and inform the island's visitors of the day's events.

Volunteers will also help drive visitors to Memorial Park, which is the closest viewing destination to the day's fun. Expected swim time for the ponies is between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., although volunteers should be prepared to be at the event earlier. 

If you are interested in volunteering on Pony Swim Day, you can contact the Town of Chincoteague Office at 757-336-6519 and ask for Kelly Lewis or Karen Hipple. 

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