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G8 Summit Puts ‘Sleepy’ Town In International Limelight

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THURMONT, Md. (WJZ)— A small Maryland community moves into the international spotlight. In less than three months, the G8 Economic Summit will get underway at Camp David in Frederick County.

As Weijia Jiang reports, residents there are gearing up for the limelight.

People who live in the small town of Thurmont take pride in their hospitality. Now, they’re scrambling to prepare to welcome the world’s most powerful leaders.

Thurmont locals call their town “sleepy.”

“It’s a wonderful place. We usually have a population of 5,000 people,” said one local.

But they got a wake-up call this week when the White House released a statement to say “to facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G8 partners, the president is inviting his fellow G8 leaders to Camp David on May 18-19.”

Just two months out, the Main Street manager is rushing to get ready.

“We may have a special breakfast for them to stop in and then have directions for them to walk around and visit with our businesses,” said Cindy Wagester, Main Street manager.

The 38th G8 summit of the world’s eight largest economies was supposed to take place in the president’s hometown of Chicago. But the threat of Chi-town occupiers may have forced the meeting to move to what the president calls a more “laid back atmosphere.”

“The mountains of Frederick County are a perfect place to get away from the hub-bub, so we commend the decision,” said John Fieseler, Frederick County Tourism.

For business owners like Jerry Freeze, the decision marks an unexpected boost.  He says members of the international press corps have booked up all the rooms in his motel.

“We’re proud to host it,” said The Cozy Inn owner. “Everyone in town is not gonna say they’re not.”

Freeze also runs a Camp David Museum that features other historical meetings. He’s excited he’ll add such a big one to the collection.

“It puts us in the limelight,” Freeze said.

Town leaders say they’re not too worried about protesters because there’s really nowhere for them to gather. But police are preparing with top security officials just in case.

Camp David is considered one of the most secure retreats on Earth, guarded by Marine forces.

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