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G8: The ‘silver lining’

(4/18) As Frederick and Adams counties and municipalities prepare for the arrival of the G8 Summit in mid-May, businesses may find themselves overwhelmed by the thousands of "attendees."

Not only will representatives of as many as a dozen different countries be present, but, as John Fieseler, executive director of the Tourism Council of Frederick County, pointed out, dignitaries and their staff and security will not be the only people converging on the area as a result of the event.

Representatives of the eight of the richest nations on Earth, which include the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Russia, make up the G8. Their primary purpose is to discuss global concerns and issues.

Several other nations are also expected to send representatives to the Camp David event.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 members of the media from various countries are expected to arrive to cover the event. "They are already booking rooms (though the region)," he stated.

Reportedly, international delegates and their staffs are attempting to book rooms in Maryland and Frederick County adjacent areas in Pennsylvania, in 30 to 50-room blocks, a feat that might possibly more realistic in the Baltimore-Washington area than Frederick or Adams counties where tourist season will be essentially getting underway.

Paul S Witt, owner of Americas Best Value Inn and Quality Inn Gettysburg Motor Lodge, both on Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg, said that his facilities were already booked up during the summit weekend as the result of normal business.

"That’s a real busy weekend (in the Gettysburg area) and the two properties we operate are already filled for that weekend," he stated.

David Reel, president and chief executive officer of the Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association, Annapolis, said the relocation of the G8 summit to Maryland is going to be huge, interesting."

"Not to say this isn’t going to be a huge undertaking (housing the attendees)," he stated, "but D.C. is already pretty much in the mode to take on conventions."

"We certainly can’t expand the number of (existing) rooms between now and the summit, but hotels, just by their nature are sort of used to make last minute adjustments," Reel noted. "I think what you’ll find pretty much across the board all the properties (motels and hotels) will do what they usually do, bring extra help in" to deal with the injection of so many individuals associated with the summit in addition to normal demand."

The Cozy Inn & Restaurant, essentially sitting in the middle of Ground Zero for the G8 Summit, was already booked before April in conjunction with the upcoming event.

General Manager Vicki Grinder said, "We have some of the press." The media alone have already reserved 21 of their rooms. "Most of coming are coming on Friday and leaving Sunday."

She categorized the role of the Cozy in such an event as "business as usual….We’ve been through this many, many, many times. We’re always booked on weekends anyway." She said the restaurant end can handle up to 700 diners. "We’re prepared and staffed for a full house (during the event)."

The Cozy Inn & Restaurant, which houses a Camp David Museum, has a long history of association with Camp David, and has not infrequently catered events there.

In fact, as Grinder pointed out, the restaurant was doing business in Thurmont before Camp David was even established (which was founded by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a presidential retreat and named Shangri-La, later changed to Camp David by President Dwight D. Eisenhower).

The Cozy Inn is hopeful that it will be awarded a catering contract which would involve serving 400 to 500 members of the media at a Camp Round Meadow, Catoctin Mountain Park. The restaurant has catered prior Camp David-related events.

Another catering contract hopeful is the Carriage House, Emmitsburg.

Bob Hance, co-owner of the Carriage House, said, "I’m waiting on an email (from the White House) regarding receiving specs from the white house on a bid for the proposal to do all or one of these meals for the press. We are on the list of possible caterers. I don’t know what we’ll end up with."

Hance also stated that a letter was sent off to the Obama family inviting them to have dinner at the carriage House. After all, Bill and Hilary Clinton did during Bill Clinton’s presidency. "I said, if you want a reference, check with your secretary of state," Hansen joked.

This year’s G8 Summit was reportedly moved to Camp David to avoid anticipated massive protests at its previously scheduled location in Chicago, according to some sources. The White House has officially stated that the summit was moved to provide attendees with a more comfortable setting.

The protest is expected to continue in and around the Chicago location although federal, state and local police agencies are preparing for possible protest activity in conjunction with the Camp David event. Current plans call for Catoctin Mountain Park to be completely closed during the weekend of the summit.

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