The Iowa State Fair begins Thursday, but hundreds of people are already camping on the fairgrounds. Kevin Muxfeldt of Story City started setting up his family’s campsite last Saturday.

“There’s so much to do here that I don’t want to have a heart attack,” he said, “so I take my time, get everything all set up and leveled up.”

The Muxfeldts have two adjacent camping spots. He and his wife stay in one camper and his mother — 80-year-old Aretta of Webster City — stays in the other. Green indoor/outdoor carpeting covers the space between the campers and Muxfeldt tacked it down with wooden laths so the wind doesn’t whip the carpeting away.

“This is like Grand Central Station,” he said of the spot. “We have three-quarter-inch plywood picnic tables on both sides, lawn chairs all over the place. I’ve got the ice cream maker here.”

Muxfeldt was sitting in one of those lawn chairs, relaxing underneath an awning on Monday afternoon, as an electric fan sitting on one of those picnic tables stirred up the air. Muxfeldt had two words for those who’d like to start camping at the fair.

“Good luck,” he said. “If you get these spots and you give ’em up, it’s like Green Bay Packers tickets. You’ll never get it back because there’s a waiting list a mile long wanting to get reserved spots here because we have electricity, we have water and about 13 years ago I came in and we have sewer hook-up, so we have all the comforts of home.”

The Muxfeldt family has the two spots closest to the east gate that leads from the campgrounds into the fairgrounds. Muxfeldt’s mother secured their prime location 35 years ago, when one of the two spots was mainly occupied by a huge oak tree. That tree was knocked down by a tornado several years ago, making more room for two campers.