The Santa Barbara Downtown Organization announced Thursday that professional surfer Lakey Peterson of Santa Barbara will serve as this year’s Celebrity Grand Marshal for the 59th Annual Downtown Holiday Parade.

Lakey Peterson

Lakey Peterson

The much-anticipated parade will make its way down State Street at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 amid magnificent marching bands, fabulous floats and spectacular performance groups.

Peterson, 17, is a professional surfer who has steadily dominated the waves worldwide since age 11 and is currently ranked seventh in the world. By age 12, she had become the National Scholastic Surfing Association Western states champion for girls 14 or younger and in 2009 won the NSSA Open women’s national title by completing the first aerial maneuver in NSSA history. In 2010, Peterson defended her national title, winning for the second year in a row, and has since been named the 2010 and 2011 ASP North American regional champion for the women and junior divisions.

Peterson competed as a wild card entry at the 2011 U.S. Open of Surfing World Tour, the biggest surf event in the world, and after winning six consecutive heats finished runner-up in the finals. She won every event in the 2011 North American Junior Pro series, solidifying her second consecutive ASP North America Pro Junior title. She recently qualified for the 2012 ASP World Tour and will be the youngest competitor at age 17.

When she is not hitting the waves, Peterson is busy pursuing other passions and causes. In 2011, she made her big-screen debut in the Nike 6.0 film Leave a Message that features a handful of the top female surfers showcasing the progression of women’s surfing. She is also a spokesperson for the Student Conservation Association, which works to keep national parks and trails pristine, and has helped raise funds for H4O (Hands for Others), an organization that focuses on building clean water wells in Third World countries.

The parade will also feature the Holiday Prince and Fairy riding in a horse-drawn carriage and Santa Claus, the most anticipated appearance of the season, will conclude the festivities.

A meet-and-greet with Peterson will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Dec. 2 at The Granada while Paseo Nuevo hosts the meet-and-greet with Santa from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

The parade is free and will conclude at Cota Street. Click here for more information or call the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization at 805.962.2098 x22.

— Ashleigh Davis represents the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization.