THURMONT, Md. (AP) — The rural town of Thurmont is extending a welcoming hand to demonstrators focused on a global economic summit  at nearby Camp David.

Downtown merchants have spruced up their storefronts and decorated with U.S. flags in hopes that the hundreds of visitors expected on Friday and Saturday will do some shopping and dining between marching and chanting.

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Still, police have beefed up security. And town officials on Wednesday removed decorative plaques from downtown parking meters to avoid their being seized or destroyed.

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The town of 6,200 takes pride in its proximity to the presidential retreat several miles away. Some residents say
occasional road closures and other inconveniences are minor annoyances in light of the importance of events at Camp David.

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(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)