I love the beginning of a new year. I start with a blank calendar and get to note the dates of the many leather events scheduled for the year. We are very fortunate to live in the Mid-Atlantic area. With so many events scheduled, the leather community has something fun to do every weekend. From leather club bar nights to leather contests and fundraisers, there is always something going on. Join me as I look at what’s on the calendar for 2020.

The year in leather always begins with Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend (MAL). Scheduled for Thursday, January 16th to Sunday, January 19th, this enormous leather gathering brings leather folks from all over the world to Washington, DC. Most events take place at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill (400 New Jersey Avenue NW). There is a reason that the host hotel sold out a year in advance. MAL is that good! On Thursday, January 16th starting at 10 pm, Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather titleholders will host a bar night at the DC Eagle. On Friday, January 17th at 4 pm MAL really starts with the opening of the huge leather vendor mart at the Hyatt. Also, on Friday is the Superheroes Meet Up (5 to 7 pm), Rubber Cocktail Party (7 to 9 pm), and the popular Impact Dance sponsored by the Highwaymen TNT starting at 10 pm. Saturday’s highlights include the Puppy Park (11 am to 1 pm), ONYX Fashion Show and Fundraiser (1:30 to 6:30 pm), SIGMA demos (starting at 2 pm), and the party of the year, Leather Cocktails (7 to 9 pm). Sunday, January 19th is the Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2020 Contest (starting a 1 pm) and the Reaction Dance at the 9:30 Club (8 pm to 2 am). For tickets and more information visit Leatherweekend.com.

Also coming up in Baltimore in January: Let’s Go Play presents Baltimore Pup Night at Club Orpheus starting at 9 pm on January 4th, Bear Night Pajama Party starting at 8 pm on January 11th at Mixer’s, and the Bootblack Certification Course #1 / Bootblack History starting at 1 pm on January 12th at Clifton Pleasure Club. This is the start of a once a month course to learn all about bootblacking.

February brings another longtime leather community tradition: Scarlet’s Bake Sale. This year’s live auction of cakes created by leather clubs, leather titleholders, and other prominent members of the leather community is scheduled for Sunday, February 9th from 1 to 7 pm at The Crucible (412 V Street NE, Washington, DC). This year’s Scarlet’s Bake Sale benefits SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders) and its homeless youth shelter services.

ONYX Mid-Atlantic request that you circle March 28th on your calendar for their annual red themed artistic fetish ball fundraiser to benefit the fight against HIV / AIDS. More details are coming soon. The weekend of April 23rd to 27th will be extra busy with both Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend (CLAW) and Bears, Bikers, & Mayhem (BBM) scheduled. This is the tenth year for BBM and this popular gathering of bears and leather folks will fill the Eisenhower Inn & Aspire Conference Center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The weekend includes dances, cocktail parties, a leather vendor mart, an indoor pool party, entertainment by Varla Jean Merman and comedian Brad Loekle, a large dungeon play space, and the Mr. Mayhem Leather and Mr. Mayhem Leather Bear Contest. For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets visit Bearsbikersandmayhem.com. Also, on April 23rd to 27th leather folks from all over the US will gather at several hotels in Cleveland for CLAW. CLAW prides itself on the large number of educational workshops held. You will also enjoy lots a cocktail party, dances, a leather vendor mart, a pig roast, the Leather Hall of Fame Brunch and Inductions, a uniform party, diaper up party, and lots of play parties. For details and reservations visit Clawinfo.org.

May brings the largest leather event of them all. International Mr. Leather (IML) is the Super Bowl of leather events. Held over the Memorial Day Weekend (May 21st to 25th), IML brings the leather world to Chicago. The Congress Plaza Hotel is once again the host hotel. The weekend includes a gigantic leather vendor mart, cocktail parties, dances at House of Blues, and the International Mr. Leather 2020 / International Mr. Bootblack 2020 contest. Everyone who is interested in the leather community should attend IML at least once in your life. My friends and I are still talking about all the fun we have had at IML over the years.

A few more dates to circle on your 2020 calendar are: October 23rd to 25th for the Philadelphians MC’s Tri-Cen. The Philadelphians MC haven’t held their leather weekend since 2010. I was there and I had a blast! Look for the “resErection” of this popular weekend in October. You also might as well go ahead and add ShipMates’ Daddy Christmas on December 5th and the 22nd annual 12 Days of Christmas Show on December 12th to your calendar.

The new year is here, and it is time to make plans. I see another fun year in leather. What is your vision for 2020?

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Rodney Burger
Rodney Burger
Rodney is originally from Hagerstown, Maryland and for many years has lived in Baltimore. In April 2017, Rodney was sworn in for his 10th year as the President of the ShipMates Club of Baltimore. He has been involved in the leather community for many years, but often denies that he sold Jell-O shots at The Last Supper. He has been writing THE LEATHER LINE for the BALTIMORE OUTLOUD newspaper (Baltimoreoutloud.com.) for over fourteen years. He has produced the Mr. & Ms. Baltimore Eagle Contest and the Maryland LeatherSIR/Leatherboy Contest. In 2001 he was proud to serve as Maryland Mr. Drummer 2001. Rodney also does stand-up comedy and in 2013 was thrilled to perform at Philadelphia Leather Pride Night. He has been nominated multiple times for a Pantheon of Leather Award, was selected Leather Man of the Year in 2013 by COMMAND M.C. and by the Baltimore Leather Association of the Deaf in 2006. The 11th annual 12 Days of Christmas benefit show was dedicated to Rodney and his partner Sir Steve. He has been twice selected as ShipMate of the Year. He has judged Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2015, Atlantic States LeatherSIR / Leatherboy and recently judged Mr. Eagle NYC 2018. He is delighted to be able to bring news of his beloved leather community to his readers every issue.