A Bright Spot on the River

In our hometown of Piqua, Ohio, French Oil Mill Machinery Company lights up the river with custom-built river fire rings each year for the Down A River Down a Beer (DARDAB) fest. With our participation in this event, attendees of this annual evening event can watch the river glisten while enjoying their favorite beverage.

Dan French, our Chairman and CEO, found inspiration for the unique rings from Peter Kageyama, author of “For the Love of Cities”. In 2015, Peter presented at a Piqua series seminar where he explained that a city in Rhode Island uses fire rings to illuminate the river. This inspired French to illuminate the Great Miami River, and what a better time to do so than the annual DARDAB fest? He began looking for ways to partner with the company that manufactured these unique fire rings, but unfortunately a partnership was not feasible. What next? If you need something done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself. So, we decided to manufacture the rings themselves to ignite the river.

Our team rallied together to create our own custom river fire rings and even came up with a way to make them float. It took about a week to fabricate the first fire ring, but in the following week the team was able to make four more. The custom-built fire rings stretch eleven feet, with three-foot wide baskets on top.

Our employees involved in this project donate their time, tools, and talents to transport and install the rings each year. Proceeds from the annual DARDAB fest support local efforts to ensure safe and healthy waterways, water quality, and recognize the Great Miami River as a recreational asset to the community. We are proud to illuminate the river each year for this fun event.

Dan Flaute, Joe Davis and Josh Drees with the first prototype.
French River Fire Rings
Testing the rings in the river.