(Detail of photo by Michael Key for the
Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend 2023 begins on Friday, January 13, and runs through Sunday, January 15.
Thousands are expected to participate at MAL this year which boasts a labyrinth of leather merchants, an Onyx leather auction, a Bootblack competition, a Rubber show, a Puppy Park, a Sunday brunch, three power dance parties along with an endless spectacle of leathermen, fetish hogs and their admirers. MAL is an annual event held in Washington DC in January. It is organized by Centaur Motorcycle Club which marks the occasion with Leather Cocktails, a formal reception and dinner on Saturday evening. The weekend’s cynosure is the Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather contest. The winner would represent the region at the International Mr. Leather contest held in Chicago.
Before it was an LGBTQIA+ winter fest, MAL began in 1976 as an intimate cocktail party of friends at a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Members of Links MC fraternized in their best leather attire. A year later, they recreated the event inviting club members and leather enthusiasts alike. The gathering quickly became more popular as it moved each year to various east coast venues. It was once at The Strap in Washington DC in 1979, then at the 2-4 Club in Philadelphia, followed by the Hippo in Baltimore, and landing at The DC Eagle on 9th Street for several years.
Centaur MC promised to preserve and perpetuate the ritual holding the first Leather Cocktails at the Exile in 1984. The Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather Contest was instituted in the following year by Tony Bachrach, Jim Mantis and Al Santora to promote pride and brotherhood among other values.
According to James A. McGlade, The Leather Rack was an inaugural vendor in the first leather market in 1996. Retooled as Bite the Fruit in 2012, it continues to participate as an exhibitor and sponsor of MAL events joining nearly 30 merchants in today’s Leather Exhibit Hall. Hundreds of artisans, manufacturers and curators showcase their best work and all things kink in an open market setting usually reserved to the trade.
Find more information regarding the weekend here:
- Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend (official site)
- Metro Weekly: 7 Things to Know About Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend
- The Washington Blade: Exploring fetishes, fantasies at Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend
History Source: Leatherpedia
- Metro Weekly: Out of the Box: Bite the Fruit’s Russwin Francisco
- Hanky Code