Cirque Italia puts a new spin on the traditional circus atmosphere by incorporating vampires, zombies and creepy clowns. Attendees filed into the big top tent in the parking lot of Hestand Stadium to see Paranormal Cirque on Friday. The group also put on shows Saturday and Sunday.

“It was a spur of the moment work retreat,” said Cat Williamson, adding that she brought her mom along. “I like to do things with her and get her out and about.”

According to its website, Paranormal Cirque combines circus, theatre, and cabaret with elements to make anyone jump out of their skin. So, Paranormal Cirque was the perfect outing for the mother-daughter duo.

“We’re both into the paranormal,” said Paula Williamson, Cat’s mother. “I like spooks and goblins and ghosts and all that other stuff.”

The show debuted in the United States roughly a year ago, says unit manager Chelcie Nugent. The rated-R show intended for a mature audience is not for the faint at heart.

“Paranormal Cirque is a very unique and scary spin on (the) circus,” Nugent said. “We still have your everyday acrobatics in the air, who are absolutely incredible. But, instead, now, we have vampires and zombies that are performing these amazing feats.”

And before one gets into the show, they have to make it past the scary house filled with a chainsaw carrying zombie, crazed clowns and other freakish creatures. But inside is where Nugent says the magic happens.

“Cirque Italia tried to do something different with their first two shows, which are water shows,” she said. “It used more human talent, and then we thought what about having something for the adults, for the parents -- a date night out.”

And Paranormal Cirque embodies Cirque Italia’s, an Italian entertainment company, idea.

“Horrors are just so popular and vampires and zombies are just so popular,” Nugent said. “People love them so much. So, we thought, let’s stick them in there and do something for the adults.”

Unlike the traditional circus, no animals perform in the show. It’s based on “human talent” involving acrobats, aerialists, dancers and magicians.

“I like the fact that they don’t have animals that are like chained up,” Danielle Griffin said. “So I really like the fact that it’s entertainment versus us watching animals.”

The two-hour show even allows for audience engagement. Attendees were selected one-by-one to assist the performers in the thrill-seeking and adrenaline pumping performances, which kept Keith Gaines on the edge of his seat.

“I really enjoy the male acrobatics, because it was just right in your face,” Gaines said. “So it was real scary. But it was also interesting at the same time.”

Outside of haunted houses, Paranormal Cirque was the first time Geoffrey Gary experienced any paranormal activity, especially at a circus. But, to his surprise, he says the show was different … in a good way.

“It was actually kind of cool,” Gary said. “It’s not the usual typical thing that comes around here.”

Details: Visit