CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (WRIC) — Chincoteague Island’s most popular event is returning after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chincoteague Pony Swim, part of the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company Carnival, will be taking place this July for the first time since 2019, before COVID forced parts of the carnival to be moved online and other parts to be cancelled.

The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, who organizes the event, announced with a post on their Facebook page that the month-long carnival will be making a return, as well as the most important event — the Pony Swim and auction.

Chincoteague’s famous wild horses, which have turned the Eastern Shore island into a popular tourist destination, will swim across the Assateague Channel to the eastern side of Chincoteague Island. The next day, some of the wild horses will be auctioned off in order to control their population in the area. For the last two years, the auction was held online.

The carnival will take place every night of July beginning at 7 p.m., the Pony Swim will take place the morning of July 27 — with the exact time depending on the tide — and the auction will take place July 28 at 8 a.m.

The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company also announced the food at the carnival will be more expensive this year, as the costs of putting on the event are higher all-around compared to when it was last held in 2019.