"where do I begin for training?"
Keep riding! Cyclocross races are right about 45 minutes, and you're at threshold the whole time. So, intervals and such to do whatever you can to raise that. Tone back the long endurance rides as you get closer to the season. If you race, crits are good practice - always on, brake hard, hammar, repeat.
"I'm looking for some ways to acclimate to the soil."
Cross isn't as technical as XC, but certainly has it's own aspects. Hit up the Alpenrose cross clininc in September, smooth transitions will help a lot. Get used to riding on dirt and gravel, Forest Park has lots of good options. Then go to your local park and make up twisty-turny courses over the grass. Hop off and on at random points to confuse the locals. Mud, well, you'll figure that one out on the course
"how do I get my peeps out to cheer"
You tempt them with promises of beer and heckling, hot legs in spandex, and Belgian frites. And what the heck else is there to do on a rainy October Sunday?