POLITICS

2012 G8 Summit moves to Camp David as Thurmont prepares

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A typical day in Thurmont, the Frederick County town of about 6,000, is marked by parents spending lazy afternoons on playgrounds while nearby horses graze along the Catoctin Mountains.

If you didn't think twice, you might not realize that the nearby Catoctin Mountain Park is home to one of the most secure retreats on earth - Camp David. And, on May 18, the area will transition from mountain town to the center of the geopolitical universe.

On Monday, the White House announced that the 38th G8 Summit, which was originally scheduled for May 18 and 19 in Chicago, will shift to Camp David. President Barack Obama says he wants the summit to take place in a more laid back atmosphere.

However, locals worry about the headaches that come with the traffic, media attention and protesters that could descend on Thurmont.

"This is a small town and I wouldn't think we could be prepared in such a small period of time," Emmitsburg resident Katrina Bigelow said.

That preparation time has now been condensed to about two months. Thurmont Police Chief Gregory Eyler said he'll likely cancel all leave and training time for his 10-member police force for the G-8 meeting.

Some Occupy activists have tweeted about camping in nearby Cunningham Falls State Park, but park officials say there's been no rush to reserve campsites.

"We're aware there's some communication going on out there on social media but there's been very little activity," said Lt. Col. Chris Bushman, deputy superintendent of the Maryland Park Service. He said about half of the 149 campsites have been reserved for the G-8 time frame.

Beyond the frenzy that typically surrounds multi-national gatherings like this, though, local businesses are looking on the bright side. For instance, the Cozy Inn, widely considered the "place to be" in Thurmont, has already sold out all 17 rooms for that weekend.

"This time, it was all journalists," Cozy Inn general manager Vickie Binder said.

Meanwhile, down the street at The Shamrock restaurant, GM Donna Demmon is no stranger to famous diners, which in the past have included Barbara Walters and Sam Donaldson.

"I'm sure we're going to see some people because of this," Demmon said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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