Twenty-nine lanterns were lit at the ceremony on Sunday for the crew members who died when the vessel sank 38 years ago, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Bagpipes were also played at the ceremony in River Rouge's Belanger Park.
"It's appropriate to have this here because the ship was built 1,000 yards south, and it unloaded all the time 1,000 yards north," said Tom Abair, the co-director of the River Rouge Historical Museum.
Pam Johnson, 61, of Abilene, Kan., whose father, Robert Rafferty, the ship's cook, was killed when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank, baked Dutch apple cake for the ceremony.
"This was one of his recipes," Johnson said.
Then, at 7:15 p.m. -- the time the ship was said to have sank -- 30 wreaths were thrown into the Detroit River; 29 for those who died on the ship, plus one more "for all the sailors ever lost on the lakes," said Roscoe Clark, of Flint, who organized the River Rouge ceremony.