Metro Weekly

Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend: Everything You Need To Know

From the contest to the parties to the puppy play park and leather merchants, here's what you need to know about this weekend's event.

The Hyatt Regency Lobby at MAL - Photo: Todd Franson
The Hyatt Regency Lobby at MAL – Photo: Todd Franson

“Everybody is welcome who would like to come explore, or visit the exhibit area, or grab a drink with friends,” says Centaur MC President Patrick Grady of the forthcoming Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend, from January 12-15. “Anyone is welcome, as long as they have manners and respect for everyone in the community. No giggling, no calling people names, just enjoy. Enjoy the atmosphere, the fun, the stories, the conversation.”

He pauses. “You know, it’s nice to be somewhere where you can just talk. You don’t have to be on your damn phone — just talk to people.”

Hosted annually in Washington, D.C., by the Centaur Motorcycle Club, MAL is an iconic LGBTQ community event at this point, as important as any Pride celebration — and arguably more socially liberating. It draws members of the leather community from across the nation and around the globe, with a three-day weekend attendance that has been reported as high as 3,000 strong. That’s a lot of leather.

The weekend, held predominantly at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, positively bustles with social events, dance parties, a leather market where merchants hawk custom-made leather and fetish goods, a formal cocktail party (for weekend pass holders only), and a contest — emceed, seemingly in perpetuity, by the charming and droll Frank Nowicki — for choosing the next Mr. MAL.

The weekend is supercharged by an infectious, joyous camaraderie. For those who have never attended, it’s a profound testament to self-expression and absolute comfort within one’s skin. There is no judgment here, only offers of friendship and unconditional acceptance.

Puppy Mosh at MAL - Photo: Randy Shulman
Puppy Mosh at MAL – Photo: Randy Shulman

As with last year, the official evening dance parties are presented by Kinetic. These include Thursday’s Bootcamp at Bunker, Friday’s Uncut XL at Republiq Hall, Saturday’s Kinetic: KINK at Echostage featuring DJs Abel and Alex Acosta, and Sunday’s closing night event, discoVERS at SAX, featuring DJ Dan Slater and Alexis Tucci.

This year’s Sunday contest is notable for pulling in ten contestants, all of whom will vie for the title of Mr. MAL 2024. Admission to the contest is for full weekend pass holders (sold out) or anyone who purchases a three-day pass at registration at the event site.

Saturday highlights include a Puppy Mosh pit from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., SigMa S&M demonstrations from 2 to 3:30 p.m., and a “Get MAUL’d Uniform Social” from 9 to 11 p.m. The Leather Exhibition Hall is open all three days and boasts several big industry names, including D.C.’s own Bite the Fruit, Rubio Leather, Mr. S Leather, TLS RubberGear, LeatherWerks, and Anubis Gear.

D.C. Health, working in conjunction with Nasty Pig, will be on hand to educate people about DoxyPEP (Doxycycline Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), a treatment that helps reduce infection from STIs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. A short-term supply of DoxyPEP in custom Nasty Pig branded boxes will be on hand for attendees eligible to receive the medicine.

Despite the extraordinary amount of volunteer work it takes to run the weekend — Centaur MC makes no money from the event, and donates all profits to charities — Grady can’t wait for the annual weekend.

“It’s like a big reunion,” he says. “It’s so nice to see people that we may only see once a year. I mean, Joe Morris, a former Mr. MAL, who used to live here in Washington and moved to Palm Springs, he’s coming. He’s always made our sash and back patch, and he’ll be here. I have friends from Europe coming — bunches of Europeans — which I’m always excited about.”

He recommends that attendees “just appreciate the weekend, however you celebrate it, whether it’s sexual, or with friends, wearing your leathers or fetish gear. It’s a weekend of fun — forget any troubles. Leave drama outside the door and just come in and embrace your inner feelings, your desires, and enjoy yourself safely and intelligently. And, mostly, appreciate what we all have to offer each other.”

Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend is Jan. 12-15. Day Passes will be available for purchase, while supplies last, on-site at the Hyatt Regency Washington, 400 New Jersey Ave. NW, starting Friday, Jan. 12. Bring an official government-issued picture ID Card for age verification. No one under 21 will be admitted.

Costs are $45 for a 3-day pass, including admission to the contest, $20 for a single day pass (Friday or Saturday) with no contest admission, or $30 for a single day pass on Sunday, with admission to the contest included.

For more information and a full schedule of MAL events, visit

Ticket purchasing info for the parties can be found at

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