It IS a great deal of fun. No, it is only in Chicago, and an annual event. International Mr. Leather itself is a contest for Leathermen, mostly gay men into Leather (BDSM). It is held every year in a hotel in downtown Chicago during Memorial Day weekend, and is actually quite big business for Chicago. It is tons of fun, because the Leathermen will be walking up and down the streets in their Leather downtown Chicago all weekend. I have had some straight women acquaintances and coworkers who quite look forward to the weekend for that reason...because, even though the men are mostly gay, I some of them look really good (if you are into men that is...lol) Obsidian and I have never actually gone to any of the contests (as what we do is not quite the same), but go to the market almost every year (we had to miss the last two years because of other commitments). Most of the Leather/Kink groups, gay and straight, hold events around IML Weekend, and a LOT of people go *just* to shop at the Leather Market, which is ALWAYS spectacular. There are literally *hundreds* of vendors from all over the country (and even some from Canada) who come to sell their products at the event. You can find pretty much any implement you want in great variety at the Market, as well as many things that you would never have thought existed.
I am not sure why, but Obsidian, in particular, is really comfortable around the Leathermen, *much* more comfortable than she is around any of the other Leather/BDSM/DD/TTWD communities we have been around, either online or in person (except this one, perhaps). Maybe because we often run into people we know in other contexts. We usually make a purchase or two, but the best part about it (for me, at least) is that Obsidian often gets a surge of confidence and...umm...inspiration from going, that often lasts for *months* afterwards.
It is the one social event in the Kink community that Obsidian is *always* willing to go to, and, in fact, is not only willing, but schedules ahead and makes plans to go.
I will warn you, though, D4D, that it can be a bit, well, shocking at first...lol...as one will see things that, well, you never thought you would
. Much of it makes what we do seem quite vanilla and tame