CLAW Rocks Cleveland

Some of the crowd outside the smoking tent at CLAW. (Photo by Pup Ruff)

Some of the crowd outside the smoking tent at CLAW. (Photo by Pup Ruff)

CLEVELAND – The home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame hosted Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend (CLAW) for the twelfth year at the end of April with its biggest crowd yet.

More than 600 leatherpeople from across the Midwest and beyond gathered in downtown Cleveland for the event. CLAW is completely volunteer run with all money raised going to charities. Over the past 12 years, more than $400,000 has been raised for organizations working on HIV/AIDS services, breast cancer and more.

Along with parties every night, there were also a range of 50 education sessions, panels and presentations held at the host hotel and at the FLEX bathhouse (for more of a demonstration of many kinks). The Leather Hall of Fame also held its annual induction on the Sunday morning of the weekend, with Alan Selby (Founder of Mr. S. Leather, a new sponsor this year), Monique Von Cleef, and Dom “Etienne” Orejudos.

Other big events during the weekend included Leather Burlesque Bingo, a fashion show, the biggest puppy most pit ever at CLAW, a bear party, ONYX’s first party at the event and the Hard Luck Hotel music and comedy revue.

The event ran smoothly for the most part, but CLAW is hitting the limit of what the hotel can provide. The host hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, filled up at record speed with the overflow hotel also hitting capacity. The Sunday brunch, when the LHOF induction is held, was actually beyond capacity with seats having to be placed away from tables to allow for the audience to see the speakers and video presentations.

All in all, however, the event was once again a success. Looking forward to CLAW 14 in 2014.

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