The wild ponies of Assateague will swim across the channel from Assateague to Chincoteague this week during the annual pony penning Wednesday and Thursday.
The swim will be held Wednesday morning. The time varies depending on wind and tides. Once the swim is over the ponies are penned at the carnival grounds, where prospective buyers and visitors can get a closer inspection. The auction will take place Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon. Then Friday morning the unsold ponies will swim back to their home on Assateague.
Chincoteague's annual Fireman's Carnival provides nightly entertainment through Aug. 1 from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The carnival, featuring rides, games and food, will be open all day Wednesday and Thursday during the penning.
On the day of the swim, free shuttle bus service will be available throughout the island from 5:30 a.m. to about 4 p.m. Visitors can park at the carnival grounds or the high school and take the shuttle to the swim site. For updated information, call the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce (804) 336-6161 the day before the swim.
Rocky Gap music festival
Country music fans will head for the mountains of Western Maryland next weekend as the annual Rocky Gap country-bluegrass festival returns for the fourth year to Rocky Gap State Park near Cumberland from Friday to Sunday.
The 3,200-acre park is equipped with a lake-side concert stage and facilities for swimming and picnicking. Stage performances, music workshops, a craft show and children's activities are also planned.
This year's headline performers are Lorrie Morgan, Conway Twitty and George Jones on Friday evening; Marty Stuart, Mary-Chapin Carpenter and Vince Gill on Saturday and Asleep at the Wheel, Restless Heart and Alabama on Sunday.
Also popular are the performance workshops set up in tents throughout the festival site. In these more intimate settings you can hear performances by guitarist Wayne Henderson, fiddler Mark O'Connor, Grammy winner Alison Krauss and the Seldom Scene, along with a magician, jugglers, and storytellers. There will also be a juried craft show, featuring Appalachian folk crafts and several food concessions.
Tickets cost $20 Friday; $25 Saturday or Sunday; $2 for children 8 and under. The gates open each day at 8 a.m. Performances run from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The park is on Interstate 68 just east of Cumberland. For information, call (301) 724-2511.
The campus of St. Mary's College in southern Maryland will be the scene of much merrymaking on Saturday after the annual Yachting Governor's Cup, the overnight race from Annapolis to the college waterfront at St. Mary's City.
Over 300 yachts are expected to participate in this, the largest yachting race on the Chesapeake Bay, which is sponsored for the third year by Yachting Magazine. In recent years a second race has been held from Hampton, Va., to St. Mary's. Even though the first yachts begin to arrive before dawn, the college waterfront offers a fine view of the final stage of the race. Gates open at 7 a.m. The public can attend the post-race festivities, which include food, music and refreshment throughout the day in the waterfront area. That evening a swing band will provide music for dancing from 8 p.m. until midnight. Admission is $10.
5) For information, call (301) 862-0380.
Frontier Craft Days
In western Maryland you can at tend Jonathan Hager Frontier Craft Days. This year's 20th annual event will be held Saturday and next Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the grounds of the 252-year-old Jonathan Hager House in Hagerstown's City Park.
More than 75 traditional crafts people will demonstrate the art of blacksmithing, pottery, weaving, stained glass making, woodworking and other craft skills that provided necessities in 1762, the year that Jonathan Hager founded the city of Hagerstown.
There will be live musical entertainment on Saturday by folk-country singer Jerry Haines and the Appalachian Wind Quintet and on Sunday by fiddler Shaun Snyder and Jack Sanbower and No Leeway, a bluegrass group.
Admission is free, but there is a nominal charge to tour the Hager House. For information, call (301) 739-8393.
River Days in Reading
A summertime event takes place in Reading, Pa., this week. Scenic River Days offers four days of family-style entertainment Thursday through next Sunday at Riverfront Park on the Schuylkill River.
This year's sixth annual event features four stages and a separate children's stage and activity area with performances by the Backyard Family Circus, jugglers, puppeteers, clowns and singers. A juried art show, two separate craft tents, and a large selection of traditional and ethnic food by area restaurants are also featured.
A special attraction this year is the Columbus '92 Ethnic Village, where food will be prepared by different ethnic communities and where there will be music, dance and other ethnic entertainment.