A year after finishing as first runner-up at the Miss Illinois pageant, Champaign's Amelia Mugavero is back in the competition.
The native Texan was a broadcasting major at Illinois and a twirler for the Marching Illini.
Mugavero is one of 25 contestants at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center. She is Miss Central Illinois.
The competition started Thursday night with preliminary judging.
Miss Illinois will be picked Saturday night. The winner moves on to the Miss America pageant on Sept. 10 at Atlantic City, N.J.
Mugavero isn't the only contestant with area ties. Danville's Abby Foster is Miss East Central Illinois.
She was picked as the 2016 Miss Illinois Fair. Foster is a 2015 Oakwood graduate. The Ball State student is also an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader.
On to my weekend recommendations:
TODAY"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," 10:30 p.m., NBC
Here is a first for T.O.T.M.: I have interviewed one of tonight's guests, Larry the Cable Guy. As part of our coverage of the Illinois-Nebraska football game in 2015, I talked to Larry about his favorite team (he was raised in Nebraska). Kirsten Dunst is also scheduled. Sorry, T.O.T.M. has not interviewed her. Yet.
SATURDAY"20/20: In An Instant," 8 p.m., ABC
The episode is titled "Buried Alive" and tells the story of two New York cousins who built a snow fort during the Thanksgiving holiday. A snow-plow driver unknowingly dumped heavy, wet snow on the fort and buried the two youths. The show re-enacts the search and rescue. I'm in.
SUNDAYCollege World Series: Louisville vs. Texas A&M, 1 p.m., ESPN
There is a local connection. Former Champaign Central High School standout Jake Snider is a freshman infielder for Louisville. His dad, Eric, is in his third year as the Cardinals' hitting coach after a long stint on the staff at Illinois.