Welcome to the 36th annual International Mr. Leather

Fri. May 23, 2014 9:44 AM

Welcome to Chicago!

Once again, Chicago opens its doors to the worldwide leather and fetish community as we all join to celebrate in our Family Reunion! Much has changed since we first started in 1979 and, because of each of you, this year is on track to be the biggest IML ever!

This year we are again hosted by The Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile and we have worked extra hard with them to build on the amazing event they executed for us last year. While it is next to impossible to please every single person who attends, please know everyone on The Marriott and IML staffs will do everything we can to make your experience as trouble-free as possible. If challenges do occur, I ask you to be patient as well as respectful as we try to remedy what comes our way.

Experienced IML guests know the weekend is filled with parties, seminars, mixers, demos and The Vendor Market on the 5th and 7th Floors of the hotel. The connections made with friends new and old alike at any and all of these events will provide experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

Many who come to IML are first timers. To those of you who are, I will just say don't be afraid ... jump in and enjoy the amazing energy IML creates. Yes, there's more to do than there are hours in each day, but, if you pace yourself, you'll be able to explore much and experience all there is to offer, both inside IML as well as our amazing city. If you need some guidance, we have some 300 volunteers who stand ready to assist you.

A little change from last year to remember: Opening Ceremonies on Friday night and the Pecs and Personality event on Saturday will be held at Park West in Lincoln Park. The Contest on Sunday night will again be held at the Harris Theater in Downtown Chicago. Weekend Package holders will have access to the IML Bus System. As is always the case, we ask for a little patience in moving so many people around the city since traffic can be terribly unpredictable.

Finally, it is my sincere hope that you get to explore Chicago a little bit while you are here. There is so much to sightsee and experience, not to mention some of the finest restaurants in the world. But, if you can, step out of the hotel and see why we love Chicago so much.

Each and every one of you are our motivation to make IML better each and every year. We've grown from those 400 in 1979 to what we think could hit 20,000 this year. Because of you. And for that, I sincerely say "Thank You!"

Play hard...play safe...and Welcome to IML!

Chuck RenslowFounder / Executive Producer

Editor's Note: Chuck Renslow, who founded International Mr. Leather in 1979, will officiate a same-sex ceremony during IML 2014. (Read more)

Related: IML 2014 welcomes leather and fetish community to Chicago

Calendar: Complete list of IML 2014 weekend events

Official IML Print Guide: Nightspots is publishing the official guide to International Mr. Leather 2014. With an expanded print run of 20,000 copies, you're sure to see this issue all over town, but you can also download it now.