With the announcement Monday that the G-8 economic summit will be held at Camp David, Frederick County has less than three months to prepare for the gathering of the world's most powerful leaders. The summit is scheduled to start May 15.
“At this moment it’s all about spreading the word,” said John Fieseler, executive director of the Tourism Council of Frederick County Inc. “Hotel rooms are going to be the first issue, folks just being able to find those.”
The first thing the council did, Fieseler said, was warn county hotel managers to get ready. Last year on that same weekend, 85 percent of Frederick County’s hotel rooms —1,950 of the 2,300 rooms — were booked. This year, that weekend would have been busy anyway with the Gettysburg College graduation.
Now it will be hectic to the nth degree as President Barack Obama hosts the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union at his retreat 70 miles north of D.C. Between their staffs, dignitaries, reporters and protesters, thousands of people — who were to converge on Chicago — will turn east to the mountains around Thurmont, Md.
Or to Montgomery County. Or to Baltimore County. Rooms will go fast. It will need to be a regional partnership once the Frederick rooms are gone, said Helen Riddle, acting director of the Frederick County Business Development and Retention Division.
"We may not be able to house them all, but we should be able to feed them," Riddle said.
The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 100th anniversary May 21 with the release of its centennial business directory, which the organization now hopes to distribute in time for the summit, said spokeswoman Jessica Hibbard. The chamber, like everyone in the Washington region, is still wrapping its head around the G-8 announcement.
The planning is certain to ramp up. It's all hands on deck for the next 75 days.