The Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend (CLAW) is a weekend convention for the leather community hosted annually in Cleveland, Ohio. It was started by Bob Miller and Dennis McMahon in 2002. A hallmark of the weekend is that there is no leather contest associated with it.
CLAW Corp. is a certified 501(c)(3) Non-profit Corporation dedicated to fundraising, education, volunteerism and other charitable needs of the adult leather community. It is dedicated to the principle that people into leather are normal, happy and healthy, and that they teach each other the truth of that principle. CLAW produces a large annual convention (the Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend) in Cleveland, Ohio every year, and several smaller CLAW Nation events around the country throughout the year.
Since it began in January 2002, CLAW’s annual event has raised $437,000 for charities. More than $250,000 has been raised at CLAW Nation events around the country — bringing CLAW Corp.’s fundraising total to $690,000.
Miller and McMahon, following their International Mr. Leather experience, thought of the idea of an event in Cleveland as they traveled around during their title years. They both agreed, and decided to name the event CLAW.
CLAW was started at the Tool Shed and it was an instant success. It received a large number of donations for a silent auction and featured a brunch at Bounce night club. Miller had a friend who was a designer who made posters that made it look like an already established event. CLAW has since grown to include thousands of participants, over 100 workshop presentations, and taking over multiple Cleveland hotels each year.
A staple of CLAW is the educational workshops and presentations, which happen on Friday and Saturday during the day. The vendor mart also operates during the day throughout the weekend. At night, CLAW plays host to a variety of parties produced by various groups within the leather community.
The formal program of the weekend includes the International Leather Family dinner on the Saturday night, which is where the keynote occurs. On the Sunday morning, the inductees into the Leather Hall of Fame are profiled over breakfast.
CLAW has donated to over 40 charitable organizations since its inception in 2002. It raised over $70,000 in 2016 alone.