Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend (MAL) is an annual event weekend held annually in Washington, DC in January. It is organized by Centaur MC and features a contest where Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather is chosen, parties and a vendor mart.
In 1976, Glenn Pitcher of the Links Motorcycle Club (MC) in New York took a suite at the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in that city, and in a grand gesture to visiting friends from the west coast, threw an intimate cocktail party. Guests all arrived in full leather. One year later in New York in January of 1977, the same suite at the Waldorf-Astoria was taken and invitations were sent out – extended to anyone in club colors and anyone who looked good in leather, and for the first time a commemorative pin was given to each participant. Guests arriving at the Waldorf were guided directly to the room number without having to approach the front desk. The success of that event led to an annual event that grew ever more popular. A suite at the Waldorf was no longer practical, so the friends decided to take to various east coast cities, and the party become open to all leatherfolk. In 1979 at The Strap in Washington DC, then at the 2-4 Club in Philadelphia, the Hippo in Baltimore, and again in Washington, this time at the Eagle in Exile on 9th Street, by which time more than 500 leatherfolk were in attendance, prompting Ray Hard (originally of the Links, but by then with the Spartan MC) to make the announcement that the friends could no longer host the event.
Tony Bachrach and Joe Johansen of the Centaur Motorcycle Club were dismayed by this news and did not want to see this beloved tradition come to an end, so they approached Hard to ask permission to preserve and perpetuate the ritual. Centaur MC presented the 1984 Leather Cocktails at the Exile and have since worked hard to continue sharing the sense of pride and brotherhood, adding in the following year the Mid-Atlantic Leather Contest instituted by Tony Bachrach, Jim Mantis and Al Santora, making the party into a full weekend of celebration.
Known now as Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend, participants now number in the thousands and the event still includes Leather Cocktails (the heart of all weekend events) – Sunday brunch and Mr. MAL Contest, a Leather Exhibit Hall and the official closing party, REACTION. Entering their 47th year in 2017, the members of Centaur MC are grateful for the people who have faithfully shown up over the years and for their efforts to sustain this celebration together with the Washington community, and a multitude of Leather/Levi clubs and supporters from all over the world.