30,000 watch 150 Chincoteague ponies swim

Associated Press - July 28, 2010 1:25 PM ET

CHINCOTEAGUE, Va. (AP) - As tens of thousands of visitors looked on, up to 150 ponies made the 85th annual swim at Chincoteague in Virginia.

Organizers of the summer spectacle said an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 visitors flocked to the Eastern Shore on Wednesday for the pony swim.

The annual crossing of the 200-yard channel between Assateague Island, Maryland, and Chincoteague was made famous by Marguerite Henry's 1947 novel "Misty of Chincoteague."

Each year ponies are auctioned to raise money for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, which cares for the Virginia herd.

Ponies that are not sold and those donated back to the fire department will roam free for another year on the national wildlife refuge on Assateague.

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