The main thing is that it all takes place with baby steps. Don't expect to have a huge success in the first few gatherings.
Before the So Cal Nova's 3rd Annual BBQ, I spoke with Al (63 Pro), and he told me (I am paraphrasing here) that what it takes is for people to get together on a simple activity or event like a Monthly Fun Run (MFR) and enjoy the trip. He told me that the 1st So Cal Nova's BBQ it was 5 cats and their spouses, yet they enjoyed themselves. And also, there aren't a whole lot of rules or demands upon the folks either. If you can make great, but if you can't, then fine too.
These folks get together for Donut runs, restaurant gatherings, driving out to some cool location, Movies, burgers, and sometimes car shows (Like the John Force event, for which they step forward and sponsor/host as group of Nova lovers). It would not surprise me that some day they'll show up at the hospital in support of a lucky couple welcoming their new born. That how they are.
I am sure that the same type of folks live in the east coast as well. All you need to do is to start gathering. Granted, you tend to have a true four-season weather cycle when compared to Califor.n.i.a., but you can still do it. By the time winter comes, have a function in someone's house or something (bridge, Poker, dominoes, birth-days, holidays, and so on).
Be like Nike -Just Do It!