Growing up as childhood friends in South Orange County, John Ford and Steve Horn were inseparable. From the classroom, little league games and family vacations, John and Steve could always be found together.
At the beginning of the summer in 1977, John’s older brother asked Don Farmen if his little brother John and his friend Steve could work alongside him at the snack bar in Doheny State Beach, California. And, the rest is history.
Both 13 years old at the time, John and Steve spent their summers and vacations working for Don Farmen. From renting bikes and beach gear, to selling sodas and burgers, John and Steve worked hard to learn the concession and catering business. As the years went by, they gained an increasing amount of knowledge, experience and responsibility.
In 1986, after being accepted to college, John and Steve learned of the opportunity to secure the food and bike rental concessions at Irvine Regional Park. They took a chance on their dream and signed a lease to operate their own concessions business. As things began to take off, they decided to expand their operations to include paddleboat rentals and eventually in 1988 they started their own catering business, Company Picnic Specialists. John and Steve’s families and friends often pitched in to help grow their newly-formed business.
As Irvine Park began to attract more visitors, their business continued to develop and grow. It was John and Steve’s desire to provide even more activities and attractions for park visitors. And, in 1996, John and Steve founded Irvine Park Railroad.
Over the years, John and Steve have continuously expanded the Irvine Park Railroad foundation. Special events, including the Easter Eggstravaganza, Anniversary Celebration, Fourth Grade California History Education Program, Pumpkin Patch, and Christmas Train have been created to offer activities to visitors year round. And, Irvine Park Railroad has also been expanded over the year to include Party Pavilions, moon bounce rentals, a full-service snack bar, and more.
Today, Irvine Park Railroad is known as a top destination in Southern California and beyond for family activities and fun!