SUMMERVILLE - They know where you used to get the best chili dog. They know that women didn't go into the pool hall on Main Street. They can tell you about the seniors' prank that moved the iconic Big Boy statue in front of the Shoney's restaurant to a display at the high school.

This is the stuff a hometown is made of. And it's the bond among all those people who were wearing "I grew up in Summerville" T-shirts around Hutchinson Square on Saturday afternoon during the Flowertown Festival. They are members of a Facebook group started by Charmaine Mazyck four years ago. It now has more than 4,500 members spanning a few generations and much of the country.

After four years tapping the keyboards to reconnect, post pictures and reminisce, the group held its first face-to-face get-together. Childhood friends were expected from as far as California and Wisconsin, said member Roy Knight.

The kith and kin were among the most authentic homemade touches at the festival that celebrates the town's heritage. They are people like Lois Fender Krakeel, who with her late husband Dutch, started the Summerville ambulance service that become the county emergency medical services.

They recall the senior pranks at the high school, the back-in-the-pines Sheep Island Road lover's lane that is now a busy thoroughfare, the generations of residents whose grandparents grew up together.

They remember Summerville when it was a small town, before everyone else discovered its beauty and history and it grew into one of the state's largest municipalities.

Want to know what it feels like to be from Summerville? When Shawn Blunt went to the Dorchester County services building to pick up a copy of her birth certificate, she was asked where she was born.

"Here," she said.

"Huh?" came the response.


"Dorchester County?"

"No, here," Blunt repeated, and pointed. The services building at Main Street and U.S. Highway 78 is the old town hospital, and Blunt could tell the clerk which room she had been born in.

"There are good people here," said James Ancrum Jr., as he was handed one of those T-shirts earlier in the week. "That's what I want, to be around good people."

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744, @bopete on twitter or Bo Petersen Reporting on Facebook.