Memorial Day Weekend brings annual IML festivities to the Windy City
International Mr. Leather welcomes the leather and fetish world to Chicago this Memorial Day Weekend as more than 50 contestants from across the U.S. and around the world will compete for the title of International Mr. Leather 2012.
IML 2012, which celebrates its 34th year, will be held Saturday, May 25 through Monday, May 28 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago
, 151 East Wacker Drive.
IML began in 1979 when about 400 gay leathermen gathered in Chicago. Today, the event has grown to be an annual tradition for the leather community drawing contestants and thousands of attendees to the Windy City over Memorial Day Weekend. Once an event for "hardcore" leathermen, IML has expanded in recent years to include a more diverse crowd from the experience to the curious.
Last year's event drew more than 15,000 leatherfolk from around the globe.
International Mr. Leather contestants are judged on a variety of criteria including community involvement, speech, presentation and overall presence. The 34th Annual International Leather Contest begins at 6 p.m. (doors open at 5 p.m.) on Sunday, May 27.
Eric Guttierez, Mr. Leather Europe 2010, was named
International Mr. Leather at the 33rd annual IML Competition in 2011.
The IML 2012 Leather Market, which is open to the public, also takes place at the Hyatt Regency Chicago
from Friday, May 25 - Monday, May 28. There is a $5.00 suggested donation with all proceeds going to the Leather Archives and Museum.
A full Weekend Market "Pride Pass" is available for a donation of at least $10 and will provide immediate access to the Vendor Market during open hours. "Pride Pass" holders will receive a coded wristband allowing market entry all weekend, and a certificate good for $25 off a Weekend Package for next year's IML. All attendees must be 21 years-old or older. Event and ticket information available at www.imrl.com
.IML 2012 Leather Market hours:
Friday, May 25 Noon to 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 26 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 27 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, May 28 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
International Mr. Leather 2012 includes a number of events, view complete weekend event listings on ChicagoPride.com's CalendarQ